Movie Review: Finch (AppleTV+)

Now streaming on Apple TV+. Finch is a film directed by Miguel Sapochnik (of Game of Thrones tent poles) starring Tom Hanks and Caleb Landry Jones. After Earth is decimated by a large solar flare, a man named Finch who builds a robot to protect the life of his dog.

Hunkered down in the remains of St. Louis, Finch scours the ruins for food, books, and anything else he can to survive. After Earth’s ozone and atmosphere were critically damaged by a solar flare, humans cannot survive outside without full protective gear. As a massive storm and rising levels of solar radiation bear down on Finch, he hastily completes the build of a robot companion. This film is a tale of what it is to be human as Finch, his robot, and beloved dog flee to safety.

What follows are excerpts from The Final Take podcast, where Nelson and Tim provide their review and final thoughts on the film:

First Impressions

Nelson: Tim, your initial thoughts?

Tim: Wow, I had so many thoughts. You know something? I had not seen a trailer before I watched this, I came in fresh. I didn’t really know what it was all about. I thought when they had the description of it, which I had read, where he’s trying to protect himself from ravagers. I thought there was more people in this film. This was another tour de force film, a la Castaway […] What a performance, he’s essentially doing half the movie almost by himself and the dog […] It was about really clinging on to life and in a world where everyone has died.

N: What it is to be human when nearly all of humanity is lost […] it’s also an interesting take on fatherhood [and] what it’s like to have children. Because he builds the robot, he uploads all kinds of data to the robot so it has a database of information to start from. But the scenes where he’s teaching it to talk and communicating with it for the first time. And teaching it to walk and taking it through life lessons of how to survive in the world. As a relatively new father, for both of us I’ve got a 5-year-old and you have young children as well, it definitely takes you through what it is to be a father [and] what it is to be human. I love this movie.

What Worked

Tim: So, what worked? What do you think worked the best?

Nelson: For me, his relationship with the robot that he builds. And you can see the growth of the robot over time. You can see how he sees it initially as like a tool […] and as he teaches it more, as it learns more. As it grows, you can that switch flip where he gets an understanding of what it’s like to be a father. So that definitely worked for me.

T: For me it was kind of twofold. A lot of the storytelling between the lines. How you interact with somebody. How you’re seeing how he’s getting on with the robot. How he reacts to his dog. How he they act together, especially towards the end […] But also, what I really loved was it had a Sam Shephard-play feel to it in the dialogue […] telling those little stories to provide some exposition. Those were the strengths of the film in how we knew what was going on. There was still a lot of fascinating movie-watching to be had but we still didn’t have the whole story until he had this little monologue […] and I really enjoyed that.

N: Let me ask you a question. At the end of the world, if you can’t be with any other humans, including any family: robot or dog?

T:  You know what? Dogs are amazing, I love dogs. They’re going to be an amazing companion. They’re going to snuggle with you. They’re going provide you with a lot of human contact. At a certain point, you’re going to have to…you’re going to have to eat the dog. You didn’t know where this was going did you?

What didn’t work

Nelson: So, Tim, what didn’t work for you?

Tim: I would say the first half did get a little slow after the inciting incident, to break it down in technical terms. But it did get a little slow when they got on the road. Not gonna lie, I just had a huge belly full of popcorn as well. So that didn’t help out [crosstalk] after I put the kids to bed.

N: Don’t blame that on the movie, that’s you […] you’re nitpicking.

T: If I had to be nitpicky, but if they had to cut it down a little bit […] nothing really didn’t work in this. And I thought this was a very, very well-done film.

N: For me, a lot worked in this movie, so this is nitpicking territory. What didn’t work, which again is a different movie for probably a different time, but could he have more human interaction? Could there have been more of that? But I guess that’s been done to death. Right? So, give me a solo Tom Hanks movie, I’m good with it […] A different studio, at a different time probably dives into the ‘humans are the real monsters’ part of these post-apocalyptic stories.

Watch, Stream, or Skip?

Nelson: Watch, stream, or skip for you, Tim?

Tim: It’s a watch AND a stream.

N: Default stream because it’s on AppleTV+ but absolutely watch. And when you do go to stream it on AppleTV+, find the biggest screen possible. There are some incredible visuals for a movie that’s more up close, [tighter] and intimate […] the performances are definitely worth a watch. If you’re not on AppleTV+, they’re churning out some hits right now.

The Final Take: Watch for both Nelson and Tim.

Listen to the entire episode below:

Ep 4: Finch: You're Probably Going to Have to Eat the Dog The Final Take

Published by Final Take

The Final Take is a podcast about TV and film hosted by brothers-in-law...brother-in-law's...two guys related by marriage who love to take about TV, film, and pop culture when they get together.

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