Finch – Tom Hanks’ End of the World With a Cute Dog and a Sentient Robot

MOVIE REVIEW – Tom Hanks has always been vocally opposed to high-profile films being left out of theatres altogether and instead debuting on streaming, but in a cruel twist of fate, the pandemic circumstances have caused his last four films to do just that.


His World War II passion project, Greyhound, which he wrote and produced, debuted on AppleTV+ last summer after being sold by Sony. He also made a surprise appearance in Prime Video’s follow-up to Borat. At the same time, Paul Greengrass’ Western News of the World was distributed internationally by Netflix and earlier this year. He completed filming on Robert Zemeckis’ Disney Plus exclusive Pinocchio. Yesterday AppleTV+ added the post-apocalyptic sci-fi Finch, another Apple original that Universal originally wanted to bring to theatres.

The project is director Miguel Sapochnik’s second feature film and first in eleven years since the futuristic action movie Repo Men. Still, the filmmaker has also made his mark in television, having helmed episodes of several hugely popular series, including the best of Game of Thrones. Finch doesn’t boast a solid visual style, a particular cinematic flair or distinctive sets, but that doesn’t matter when it’s a character-driven piece first and foremost.


Tom Hanks really does carry the whole movie on his back


The set-up is straightforward, given what we’ve come to expect from sci-fi stories revolving around the end of the world; Hanks plays Finch Weinberg, one of the last surviving members of the human race following a cataclysmic event that has wreaked untold havoc. Fearing his time is running out, the inventor refuses to leave his beloved dog behind in the event of his death, so he builds a sentient robot to keep his best canine friend company.

After initial teething troubles, which unfold primarily through a series of humorous montages as his metal protégé learns to walk and talk, the android names himself Jeff and seems to become part of the makeshift family unit when they embark on a cross-country journey, with the Golden Gate Bridge as the ultimate destination.
Movies that focus almost exclusively on a handful of characters are practically required to deliver strong performances to hold the viewer’s attention, and this is very much the case with Finch, given that the only other characters on screen for the entire 115 minutes of the feature are two robots and a dog. Fortunately, Hanks happens to be one of the greatest actors of all time, and this is another phenomenal performance from him.

Playing the role of audience surrogate, protagonist, narrator and lead actor all at the same time is not easy, but Hanks is once again sensational. His every gesture or movement, be it a raised eyebrow or an exasperated sigh, reveals far more about Finch’s mindset than any monologue ever could, and the lead actor carries the weight of the entire narrative on his shoulders with ease.


Faceless emotions without a face


That’s not to say that everything else is window dressing. Caleb Landry Jones’ vocal performance as Jeff is a masterclass in bringing depth, layers, and emotional complexity to a character without a face. There is innocence, heart, humour, warmth and an ever-evolving understanding that makes the dynamic between Jeff and Finch between master and creature almost father and son, even with some awkward moments in the second act when the robot takes some of his fatherly supervisor’s advice a little too literally, almost to the point of Jeff’s awkward teenage years.
Other than an opening scene that sets the stage for Finch doing his best to escape a raging storm, a tense and nervous supply run to an abandoned hospital, and a nerve-wracking scene in which faceless marauders pursue our hero in another vehicle, there are no other action scenes in Finch.

Entertaining and touching, Hanks is once again at his best


Instead, Craig Luck and Ivor Powell’s script throws all sorts of ingredients into the mix. The result is a charming, elegiac blend of the father-son tale, man-and-his-dog adventure and buddy road-trip comedy that seamlessly blend to create an ending that, while not particularly exciting or original in the usual sense, is still entertaining and often touching. Anyone with a pet (especially a dog) is guaranteed to be brought to tears by a dramatic scene or two.

If not revolutionary or spectacular sci-fi, Finch is still a good film, with an outstanding performance by Tom Hanks, and ideal for reflecting a little on the – rather ominous – future of humanity…



Direction - 7.2
Acting - 9.2
Story - 6.8
Visuals/action/music - 7.2
Ambiance - 7.4



If not revolutionary or spectacular sci-fi, Finch is still a good film, with an outstanding performance by Tom Hanks, and ideal for reflecting a little on the - rather ominous - future of humanity...

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BadSector is a seasoned journalist for more than twenty years. He communicates in English, Hungarian and French. He worked for several gaming magazines - including the Hungarian GameStar, where he worked 8 years as editor. (For our office address, email and phone number check out our impressum)

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