Well, Craig Luck and Ivor Powell came up with an idea. Imagine that instead of a desert island Tom Hanks finds himself alone in a post-apocalyptic future where the world is devastated and that instead of his loyal Wilson, he has a dog and a robot. Yes, that’s the idea that the writers of Finch (2021) came up with. Anyway, more than 20 years have passed since Cast Away (2000) was released and this generation has no idea that old Tom already traveled the roads of desolation and hopelessness in a very similar way. It is worth saying that Zemeckis’s is much superior to the present one and that Hanks seems to return to his iconic role, but with less charisma.
Director Miguel Sapochnik (Repo Men, Game of Thrones) is entrusted with this project from the Apple house. Clearly the task was to replicate the formula of the previously mentioned film of the unfortunate castaway. With some adjustments here and there, this Finch puts us in a more up-to-date context that is nourished by one of the main problems of today, climate change. Finch (Tom Hanks) is one of the few survivors after the world has suffered an environmental catastrophe. His days are spent wandering the desolate streets and searching abandoned buildings for anything that could serve him for his livelihood. In the company of his dog the apocalypse is more bearable and with his skills he builds a robot to be the perfect assistant.
Their once safe haven collapses and Finch, the dog and the robot have to go on a journey into the unknown in search of a new home. Finch’s script appeals to adventure to connect with the audience while proposing a discourse about man and his relationship with the world, but also about the things that define us as human beings. The film tries to achieve a balance between the action that comes from the dangers faced by the protagonists and the most intimate moments that lean to the sentimental side. In the execution, none of these proposals works as they should, and we are left with an unstable film.
Not all the charisma of Hank and his robot Jeff can carry this Finch. There are few moments that transcend and in which we feel a good narrative rhythm. The central character’s ultimate purpose feels weak, and the moment of the big reveal lacks impact. Without a doubt, the best thing is the character of that singular robot that manages to steal space from Tom Hanks every chance he gets. From the script his character seems to be better conceived, and, in the staging, he is also better executed.
The new distribution scheme that has come with streaming services is fertile ground for films like this one that under the traditional scheme might have been difficult to finance.