Paulie’s Perspective: Finch (2021) Review

Dir: Miguel Sapochnik

Starring: Tom Hanks; Caleb Landry Jones; Seamus (dog) 

Writers: Craig Luck; Ivor Powell. 

This is an apocalyptic film taking place in the year 2030. Finch is pretty much modeled after Castaway. Tom Hanks has this uncanny ability to make us care about inanimate objects. He made us cry over a stupid volleyball, and now he does again for a stupid robot. It seems that this has become his forte. Tom Hanks, all alone for 2 hours – acting with whatever object someone can think of. I would not be surprised if coming soon to a theater near you – Tom Hanks in Julius Ceasar, with a pencil. “Et Tu, Number 2?”  

Parting some wisdom on us, about how absolutely terrible mankind is, especially during a crisis, he was clear to point out – “The solar flare didn’t kill us, no – we did that”.  Cynicism abound, we still love Finch – who is some kind of tech genius who hated people to begin with. 

Let me say, the writing in this is simple, yet elegant. Which is surprising since the two writers have not written much at all. Craig has been around film as an electrician and a grip and what not, and Ivor is a powerful producer who was associate producer for Blade Runner (1982) and Alien (1979). So Ivor has some time and experience under his belt with blockbusters. 

Director Miguel Sapochnik is from London and rose to the top of his game on Game of Thrones for HBO. Miguel directed about two episodes a year in 2016 and again in 2019 including The Long Night, which is one of the big ones, towards the end of the series. 

Now the interesting part is Miguel and Craig are listed as Exec Producers, and Ivor as a Producer, so these three guys really put their heart and soul into this film. 

Legacy Effects built / created the robots, the quad robot “Dewey” was an actual working real robot built by Legacy Effects. “Jeff” the more human robot was created by Legacy in many ways – some of it was a real robot, some was performed by puppeteers and some was generated by the 60 animators at the VFX company MrX. 

Caleb was the backbone of it all, wearing an MVN Link Suit, enabling the animators to create a computer generated skeleton and intertwine that with real puppeteering and actual working robots. 

The work is magnificent. You truly feel the robots are there and present on set – because most of the time they were. Caleb instills an innocence in Jeff and his sense of humor is just spot on and makes the whole film work. 

When you look at the real trio behind this film, you can understand why this film is pitch perfect and works so well. Legendary filmmakers Robert Zemeckis and Steven Spielberg had their watchful eyes over this entire process. I don’t know why neither took the reigns on this themselves, my guess is too busy and just too tired – but their supervision made sure this thing was pure gold. So you have Tom Hanks and Zemeckis – doing what they did in Castaway, and Spielberg putting his stamp on it with Amblin Entertainment. The product is a marvelous little film, with big, big effort. Filmed over two countries, one of them being Australia, (when Tom probably got the Covid) and here in America. This film had herculean muscle behind it and it came out shining like gold. It’s a shame it didn’t get the movie theater release I am sure they were hoping for – seems like this movie just got lost in the undertow. 

I hope, at least, this movie is remembered during award season. Tom is tremendous as a one man cast, once again, and the effects are used , every kind,  in every conceivable way, with a brilliance and tenderness that not many movies can pull off.  

Finch may not like people – but I certainly love Finch.