Finch (Sci-Fi, Adventure, Drama) (2021)
Director: Miguel Sapochnik
Writer: Craig Luck, Ivor Powell
Stars: Tom Hanks, Caleb Landry Jones, Marie Wagenman, Oscar Avila
Years after a solar flare irreparably damaged the ozone layer; Finch Weinberg lives alone in a laboratory along with his young dog. Having been an engineer in his past life, he constructs a robot for companionship in a long journey to come as a massive storm is rapidly approaching St. Louis.
Apple TV+ comes in with another promising film, after featuring Tom Hanks last year in Mark's Remarks Year-In contender "Greyhound". Directing this project is Miguel Sapochnik, who has directed episodes for notable series such as "Game of Thrones", "Iron Fist", and "Altered Carbon".
Set in a very familiar apocalyptic scenario, "Finch" tries to be different in a particular sort of way. Instead of explaining some elaborate plot with a heroic goal, Hanks' character simply tries to survive and only gives the audience an elementary explanation of the apocalyptic circumstances. However, what makes it genuinely contrast other sci-fi apocalypse movies is the feeling it expresses; even though certain moments convey a grim atmosphere, it shifts to a more positive tone the further it progresses.
The reason behind this difference in style and emotional tone has to be director Miguel Sapochnik, who in the past has worked on "Game of Thrones" episodes like "Hardhome" and "Battle of the Bastards". What he inserted in episodes like those was a glimmer of hope in a hopeless scenario, which is also part of why I believe they were so loved and appreciated. It's not all due to the director, though, as Tom Hanks ages like fine wine, and much like the classic film "Cast Away" solely pushes the plot forward without having other human characters to interact with. Despite knowing the extent of Hanks' talent very well, it's nevertheless incredible to experience him acting in this form. And let's not discount the acting by Caleb Landry Jones, Who lends his voice to a robot that names itself Jeff, A figure that's a mixture of practical and VFX, seeming like a less articulated version of "Chappie".
Cultivating the social aspects and the craving for closeness in humans makes "Finch" create a positive sci-fi/drama, unlike most others. Not everything is perfect as could be expected; the soundtrack, for example, featured some fitting Americana songs but floundered in other musical numbers. You could also criticise how robot Jeff felt more human than an artificial being should. Still, in my opinion, it was a creative decision that served "Finch" incredibly well, to lead up to an emotional finale even though it felt slightly rushed.
If there's an apocalypse scenario and you're in a pinch, don't worry and just call Finch.