Home Entertainment company Tom Hanks is on his own in ‘Finch’ again, with only a dog and a robot for companionship

Tom Hanks is on his own in ‘Finch’ again, with only a dog and a robot for companionship

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Review by Brian Lowry, CNN

Apple TV + must really like Tom Hanks, with “Finch” representing the second film starring the actor the service picked up during the pandemic. Like “Greyhound,” this one is in a modest affair that probably would’ve struggled to make waves in theaters, throwing Hanks into a storyline of The Last Man on Earth that’s part of “Cast Away,” part of “WALL-E. . “

Indeed, although production ended before the pandemic, the premise – which makes Hanks the main character, a trained robotics engineer, survives an (possibly explained) apocalypse with only his dog and a newly operational robot. – would have been ideal for filming under Covid protocols with such a limited cast.

The robot (played by Caleb Landry Jones) takes the name Jeff, and like a number of recent projects, “Finch” ends up being an exploration of not only man’s struggle for survival, but also the dawning humanity of the machine, with Finch programming it to watch out for the dog, if anything happened to it, his main directive.

Most of the film focuses on Finch and his companions battling the elements, forced to flee through unpredictable weather and massive storms while searching for places that “weren’t ransacked or looted.”

Along the way, Finch teaches Jeff how to drive (the robot insists he is “an excellent driver”, inviting a reference to “Rain Man”), tells stories that provide a modest window into his past, and searches for canned food for man and beast.

Director Miguel Sapochnik (“Game of Thrones”) does what he can to wrest the maximum of emotion from this unlikely trio, finding moments of tenderness and humor in their interactions. The on-road format also owes something to another recent Hanks film, “News of the World,” traveling there by wagon instead of RV.

Still, even with Hank’s innate sympathy looking like a limited model, making this one of those road movies that take place at a decent pace but don’t really seem to be going anywhere. Plus, the underlying storyline is so dark that it somewhat compensates for the lighter elements, despite the really good boy and robot accompanying it.

Studios have been pretty smart about which movies to keep until theatrical release becomes possible and which ones to sell to programming-hungry streaming services, especially with someone like Hanks to help promote it.

“Finch” is practically a poster for the latter category, the kind of movie that offers greater pop as an entry on Apple TV +’s playlist than on your screen.

“Finch” premieres November 5 on Apple TV +.

The-CNN-Wire
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