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Man’s best friends

In Finch, a dog, a robot, and Tom Hanks face a post-apocalyptic world


Man’s best friends

Two decades after Tom Hanks was nominated for the Best Actor Academy Award for his mostly solo film Cast Away, he’s back with another one-man performance in Finch, a post-apocalyptic dramedy now streaming on Apple TV+.

Hanks plays a gray-bearded inventor named Finch, one of the few humans left on earth after solar storms destroyed 21st-century society. In a barren and abandoned St. Louis, he searches for food for his dog, his only companion, and parts for his newest creation, the C3PO-inspired robot, Jeff.

In Finch’s world, food is ultra-scarce and cyclonic dust storms can last for weeks. These threats force Finch and his friends to leave St. Louis on a classic trek west through a sandy Kansas and a tornado-filled Colorado, hoping to find a promised land on America’s West Coast. Along the way, Finch is also training Jeff for his ultimate mission: He must learn to take care of Finch’s dog, just as Finch does.

Despite the bleak post-apocalyptic scenario, the film inserts cheeriness into the gloomy world. Finch sings Don McLean’s “American Pie” while foraging among ruins and rubble. He’s best friends with an adorable dog. And Jeff is as goofy as movie robots come, as he learns to talk and walk and eventually drive an RV. The film is rated PG-13 for two vulgar words and two scary situations.

While Finch’s plot is filled with clichés common to sci-fi films such as WALL-E and Short Circuit, it pulls viewers in with Finch’s story arc and the nobility of what he is trying to accomplish. In one of the stories that Finch tells Jeff, he chastises humanity for scavenging instead of building. Finch prefers creativity and learning to merely existing and draining resources.

Its watchability is also a testament to Hanks, who shines even when he’s alone on the screen.

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