'Finch' Doesn't Make You Care About Its Only Character

Directed by Miguel Sapochnik

Starring Tom Hanks, Caleb Landry Jones

BY Alex HudsonPublished Nov 3, 2021

Carrying a film as the only actor onscreen is no small feat, but Tom Hanks has already proven himself capable, having done exactly that for much of Cast Away. Reteaming with Cast Away director Robert Zemeckis — here serving as a producer — Hanks attempts to do it again, but Finch simply doesn't have enough excitement to work as one-man show.

Filling in for Wilson the volleyball as Hanks's non-human companions are an android named Jeff (voiced by Caleb Landry Jones) and the terrier cross Goodyear. Playing the titular Finch, our hero is living in a surprisingly high-tech bunker in St. Louis following a solar flare that torched the ozone layer, wiping out most of humanity and leaving the earth as a desert wasteland. With a long-lasting storm system rolling in, Finch and the gang decide to pack up their UV-protected RV and head for the hopefully greener pastures of San Francisco.

It's a grim story, but director Miguel Sapochnik tries too hard to add levity in the form of Jeff, who jabbers incessantly in a robotic voice that sounds distinctly like Borat. I half expected him to say "my wiiife" at any moment. Combine that with some ponderous monologues from Hanks — who doesn't have anything half as good Cast Away's memorable "I have ice in my glass" speech to work with here — and Finch is an awkward dystopian buddy comedy that's low on both laughs and existential dread.

The only other human who appears onscreen is a brief flashback of a young girl. And maybe that's a problem, since the closest the film gets to excitement is a threatening run-in with an unseen human. Finch also improves as Jeff's AI becomes more sophisticated; the Borat impression becomes less grating, Caleb Landry Jones begins to do something recognizable as voice acting, and Hanks actually has someone to work off of.

A movie about isolation and needing to wear a mask before going outside ought to resonate more than ever. Finch, however, never feels real enough to care about its one character.

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