‘Finch’ Review: Tom Hanks Brings His A-Game In…
Miguel Sapochnik’s film basically uses a formula from almost every post-apocalyptic movie for it, but if you have an actor like Tom Hanks making you forget that, then it’s an indication of how powerful his performance is.
Finch has only two human actors throughout its running time; Tom Hanks (who stars as the titular character) and Caleb Landry Jones as Jeff, the robot created by the main character.
The hero is an aging man who, in an effort to ensure his faithful dog is taken care of when he is gone, creates a humanoid robot and begins to teach him what it’s like to be human.
Whoever brought in Tom Hanks for this film made a very wise choice, because they knew that only an actor with real star power would get the necessary attention for this kind of project.
For his part, Hanks is no stranger to this kind of movie; his award-winning turn in Put away comes to mind. Fighting the elements in that film while shipwrecked on a remote island, here he chooses to be alone, preferring the company of his canine companion over his fellow humans.
As mentioned, the setting is a post-apocalyptic future where solar flares have devastated what was once a teeming population of humans. The few left are forced to scavenge as they avoid the sweltering heat of the sun resulting from the destruction of the ozone layer.
In this bottomless, dry, hot world is Finch, a scientific genius whose distrust of others has made him wary of any possible survivor.
When his health begins to deteriorate at an alarming rate, the protagonist decides he is short on time and can only think about his dog’s survival when his time is up.
Living in an unforgiving world is a daunting experience and Finch has been molded into the hard man he has become. But as he senses the end coming, his humanity begins to shine through.
Hanks’ acting is convincingly convincing as always. His character is not a nice guy who craves companionship due to his isolation. He is efficient, calculating and will do almost anything to make ends meet.
My biggest fear was that I would get bored watching an old man struggle to keep my attention. What I got was a character that was so believable and recognizable, someone that made me so attached to him and everything that happened until the end of the movie.
The arrival of the robot brings a whole new dynamic to Finch’s small world; his dog doesn’t seem to trust the newcomer, and he starts to have doubts when he realizes he may not even have enough time to take the lessons he should into the machine.
Despite the unforgiving atmosphere depicted here, there is beauty in the void, an aesthetic appeal to the unforgiving climate.
If there’s one thing the director knows how to do, it’s present scenes in memorable shots and camera angles. (what more do you expect from the same person who shot some of the best fight scenes in Game of Thrones?) Everything just works so well.
As the humanoid robot, Caleb Landry Jones is a breath of fresh air. He brings much-needed comic relief and his naivety stands in stark contrast to the hero’s experience. The vocal delivery is pitch-perfect (especially in the beginning when he’s learning to communicate with his master).
And canine star Goodyear (yes, that’s the dog’s name) is also a worthy performer whose non-verbal communication with his owner is more than enough to enlighten the viewer on the bond between the two.
in many ways, Finch is more than just a science fiction drama about a dying man, his dog and his robot. It is about man’s acceptance of the inevitability of death. In portraying this part that we all face, Tom Hanks leaves no stone unturned and the end result is as moving as it is heartbreaking.
The score in the film alternates between haunting, dramatic, adventurous and humorous. It never feels wrong in this aesthetically pleasing production.
For me, Finch is a great movie, one of the best of the year, and I also want to add that Hanks is still at the top.
Good one, Miguel Sapochnik. You made a good one.