Finch ★★★½

"I know you were born yesterday, but it's time for you to grow up!"

This one had me excited from the moment the Amblin logo appeared onscreen. In fact, such is it's throwback nature, and unabashed sentimental tone that it could have been directed by Mr Spielberg. In this case, Miguel Sapochnik does an admirable job with this post-apocalyptic tale of Finch Wienberg of the title and his friendship with dog Goodyear (great moniker for a mutt btw). The two lead a lonely existence as survivors scavenging for food on an earth ravaged by deadly solar flares. There's shades a-plenty of Sir Ridley's The Martian, I Am Legend and Castaway, but most of all it plays as a live action WALL-E in part, as Finch utilises A.I. to act as a would-be carer of sorts for Goodyear.
Having shown he can handle the weight of solo performance in Castaway, the ever reliable Tom Hanks delivers again with what is essentially a one man show, only displaying interactions with his canine companion and a piece of hardware. Despite the seemingly futile nature of his existence, Hanks channels a little humour to the proceedings, coupled with despair, despondency and even a little madness being touched on as he navigates the perils and challenges of a radically changed environment.
For an unrelentingly grim subject matter, the cinematography is absolutely beautiful in parts - who knew the end of the world could look so amazing! Many of the shots used brought the recent Nomadland to mind.
There's some superb model work spliced seamlessly with cg assisted motion capture to bring Hanks' robotic creation to life, and Caleb Landry Jones' participation ensures the viewer 100% buys into him as full blown character.
Hanks' Don McLean loving Finch warrants some tasty soundtrack choices that frequently left me with a silly grin throughout.
The Dolby Vision here is never less than gorgeous, and the Dolby Atmos track is used to great effect whether it's the biblical storms unleashed, or the gentle clinking of a misplaced screw in robotics.
This post-apocalyptic road movie isn't afraid to take it's time, and it's gently paced tone felt entirely appropriate. It sets it's stall out early on, and there aren't any huge surprises right up to it's pleasing last shot (although this was substantially changed from original scripted version when the pandemic hit). Maybe it could have done with throwing a curveball or two, but it boasts a whole lot of heart and is still very much a trip worth taking. One of 2021 better cinematic efforts.

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