I had been looking forward to this, as it looked like something original. I sat down last night with a bowl of popcorn to enjoy Finch, and here’s my review.
The story is simple:
On a post-apocalyptic earth, a robot, built to protect the life of his creator’s beloved dog, learns about life, love, friendship and what it means to be human.
Simple, yet heartwarming. Any movie with a dog is OK with me… well, apart from maybe Cujo.
Finch stars Tom Hanks as the titular character and Caleb Laundry Jones as the robot. The robot does get a name, but I won’t spoil it. The only other cast member is the dog, who again, has a name but I won’t spoil that either.
It is directed by Miguel Sapochnik, known for Repo Men and mostly a lot of TV shows, like Game of Thrones and House.
The movie is wonderfully simple, it’s not overly complex, and there are just the three characters. Finch, the robot, and the dog. This means the majority of the movie is carried by Tom Hanks. The good thing is Hanks is an amazing actor. I can’t really think of a movie I have seen where he wasn’t great.
Hanks plays Finch as a simple man with a simple life. After the world-ending event, which is never really explained, he has found that he has radiation poisoning and he is going to die. The only thing that concerns him is that when he dies he wants someone or something to look after the dog.
They learn of a huge storm heading their way. They will have to leave their bunker, since Finch is running low on supplies. He has checked all the local areas for food but he is running low and will need to venture further.
He builds the robot to care for the dog when he finally passes away. The slow and gradual building of the robot is really well done, and funny. We see the robot learns to talk and learn to walk.
I’m not going to spoil the rest of the movie, but it’s a great story. The description in the review only covers the first act. The second and third act keep you engaged with the characters. I would say the story is predictable, but not in a bad way, as you are happy to follow the characters since they all interact with each other so well, even the dog.
Hanks tells the robot some stories and his acting is just perfect. There are a couple of monologues and they are fantastic. I honestly couldn’t fault Hanks in this. He shines here.
It took me a while to figure out where I had seen the robot’s hands before. Then I figured it out. They reminded me of hands from the robot in Wallace & Gromit. This wasn’t a bad thing.
On reflection, the odd thing is that the entire movie felt a bit like Wallace & Gromit. The man is an inventor, there’s a robot and a dog, that’s the main details for A Grand Day Out, The Wrong Trousers, and A Close Shave. The stories are different, but this could be a more serious, live-action version of an adventure with Wallace & Gromit, if it was directed by Neill Blomkamp.
Obviously, Wallace & Gromit are comedies, they are made to make you laugh. Finch is similar but has a much more serious tone. There are laughs in the movie and some places that really make you smile but I wouldn’t call it a comedy.
What you have here is a very well-made movie with emotion, laughs, and a few tears. It’s an original IP even though the basics of the story are something you’ve seen before.
I thoroughly enjoyed the whole thing. It is very well made, with beautiful cinematography. Hanks is amazing, but the robot is also really well done. Since the robot has no facial expressions, the acting is done through the voice and body, somehow managing to be completely real!
I found it a great movie and I would happily watch it again. It’s heartwarming and heartbreaking with fantastic characters.