“Finch” a Wonderful Story with Human and Robot Characters

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Catherine Arellano

“Finch” is a lovely story that depicts how to not only survive, but live in a post-apocalyptic world.

“Finch” is an oddly touching movie. The story is set in a post-apocalyptic world, where a solar flare has punched holes in the ozone layer. Intense UV radiation is being emitted that causes people to either stay indoors or have a radiation suit on. “Finch” follows Matt Damon’s character of the same name in his old age trying to live and survive a good life, in the wastelands that have become everyone’s home. Finch was a robotic engineer before the solar flare so he had the wit and smarts to survive in a radiation-filled wasteland.

Finch is accompanied by Dewey, a small robot rover that can help carry and pick up things, his dog, and his bipedal robot named Jeff that he built.

Finch’s story starts with him evading a large dust storm that he can’t hunker down for. He is forced to leave and he decides on his final destination being the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. The movie follows Finch from town to town as he finds food and other things of survival interest. He needs to go from St. Louis to San Francisco. He and all of his companions pile into his old RV and start the journey to the Golden Gate Bridge.

On the way to San Francisco, Finch starts deteriorating, and he begins coughing up blood and relies more on his companions to take care of him. While on the road to the Golden Gate Bridge, they find a patch of land where the solar flare hasn’t killed all wildlife. Finch gets to finally step out into the sun for the first time since the flare and feel the sun on his face. Finch decides to have a picnic with his dog and Jeff.

After Finch enjoys the picnic he tells Jeff a story about how he never met his father and one day he received a postcard from him with a picture of the Golden Gate Bridge. On the postcard there is a written note saying that his father hopes to meet him someday. During the picnic he wears a white suit that he was going to wear for his father that he never got to meet. Finch realizes that he is dying, and will not get to see the Golden Gate Bridge.

In the final shots of the movie, it shows Jeff and the dog driving to the Golden Gate Bridge and how the dog slowly warms up to him during their journey to it. Finally, on the Golden Gate Bridge, Jeff looks at notes that were taped onto the guard fence on the bridge, and remarks on how Finch was right about his feelings of experience.

I thoroughly enjoyed my time with this movie, however, the one time that this movie really stumbled was at the very end, where the movie is having its most meaningful moment. They add a voice over repeating a quote from Finch, “you can tell me how many bolts are in the Golden gate bridge and how tall it is. But you don’t know how it feels to stand on it with the suspension whistling in the wind. That is human experience. It’s not just imaging, it’s living!” This scene is a spit in the face to the main message of the film. Having this thing be built up for this “experience moment” to have viewers smacked in the face with why we should be impressed about their journey is immersion breaking.

With that being said, I could train on and on about all the smaller good things in this movie but two big things stood out for me. The first one being in one of the towns that they visit, Finch is struggling to stay awake and alive and ends up becoming incapacitated by his illness. Jeff asks him what he should do. Finch jokingly responds, “take me to a doctor,” knowing that there would be no way for him to find one in the apocalyptic wasteland.

Jeff drives into a town and sees a hospital and tries to get medicine to help Finch. Jeff leaves Finch in the car to go inside and check for medicine with Dewey. Jeff recites all of the lessons that he has learned, almost teaching Dewey from all of the lessons from Finch. What I want to draw attention to is during the robots expedition through the hospital, jaunty upbeat music plays signifying a sense of blissful ignorance while scenes displaying the feelings of being watched. It shows how Finch’s cynicisms did not rub off on him. Music plays a large role in this film from everything from the opening sequence to the credits. I believe it was displayed best in this scene.

Human experience is a theme that the movie plays around with, and when having half of the characters be robots this theme can sometimes be charming and funny. Seeing Finch try to explain how the feeling of feeling works is similar to trying to describe color to a blind man. Throughout the movie, Jeff is shown becoming more and more sentient. Jeff starts to form a personality of his own during the movie and becomes more and more like a disciple of Finch. Having Finch be able to teach someone what he has learned gives him a sense of purpose in his life, even though he lives in a wasteland. This gives a great feel of depth and bittersweet feeling to the overall tone of the movie.

“Finch ” has quickly become one of my favorite movies when it comes to sci-fi adventure movies. It has a rich atmosphere that is both melancholy and hopeful. I absolutely recommend this movie to anyone that wants either a fun adventure or a movie that might make a couple of bittersweet memories.