REVIEW: Finch (Apple TV+)


People like post-apocalypses, cute robots, and, perhaps most of all, Tom Hanks.

Apple TV’s first big acquisition was last year’s Greyhound, which starred Hanks as a US Navy Commander leading a convoy during the Battle of the Atlantic.

Here he plays the eponymous Finch, one of the only survivors left in a scorched, sand-swept America. When he’s not making radiation-suited supply runs with lunar rover Duey, Finch holes up in an underground lab with his dog Goodyear, his only organic companion.

Finch is dying and so creates a new more advanced droid to look after Goodyear when he’s gone. With the climate worsening, Finch and his three companions hit the road, heading north to San Francisco. Ignoring the fact that Finch has just created life – then again, it’s not like there’s much left for Skynet to blow up – the film focuses on the developing relationship between Finch and the droid, Jeff, as he comes to be known.

Voice and mo-capped by actor Caleb Landry Jones, who recently won Best Actor at Cannes, Jeff resembles IG-11, the bounty hunter droid from The Mandalorian, with the colouring of Batman villain Deathstroke and a teenage’s posture. His voice has the modulated tones of Stephen Hawking’s and Borat-like inflection, though this becomes less pronounced as Jeff slowly, subtly, evolves. He’s a fully-fledged CGI creation that even five years ago would have been impossible, but that we already take for granted.

As Finch, Tom Hanks continues embody the quiet, embattled decency that has been a hallmark of his career1 – though with a strain of unsympathetic, if understandable, anger, lashing out in frustration at Jeff’s naïveté. Wilson never had to deal with this abuse.

Jo Willems’ cinematography, is – high praise – reminiscent of Dariusz Wolski’s work on last year’s Hanks-starrer News of the World. This is a world immersed in dust, but it’s also warm and rich and vibrant. Apart from a few tense sequences – including one straight out of TwisterFinch is a gentle, very human film, aided by Gustavo Santaolalla’s powerful, stirring string score.

Expertly directed by Game of Thrones‘ Miguel Sapochnik, this is the sort of well-made, middle-grade fare that home streaming was made for.

At least it’ll tide us over till Hanks appears in Disney’s live-action remake of Pinocchio, due out next year.

He’s playing Gepetto – no stretch there then.

Finch is now available to watch on Apple TV+

  1. Let’s hope that his role as Colonel Tom Parker in Baz Luhrmann’s upcoming Elvis gives provides a bit more variety.

Author: robertmwallis

Graduate of Royal Holloway and the London Film School. Founder of Of All The Film Sites; formerly Of All The Film Blogs. Formerly Film & TV Editor of The Metropolist and Official Sidekick at A Place to Hang Your Cape. Co-host of The Movie RobCast podcast (formerly Electric Shadows) and member of the Online Film Critics Society.

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