A post-apocalyptic amalgamation of Tom Hanks’ greatest hits (notably Turner and Hooch and Cast Away) lies at the heart of this wake up call to climate change deniers. (Perhaps the non-believers in the crowd might finally face reality if the message comes cloaked in sci-fi trappings and with the Walter Cronkite of cinema as their guide?) Finch (Hanks) isn’t the sole survivor of the climate holocaust, but it isn’t until over an hour into the picture that the presence of others is called into question. It soon becomes clear to both character and viewer that Fitch’s days are numbered. Hemoptysis had set in, a throat-clearing whoop that makes Doc Holliday’s hacking in My Darling Clementine sound like a tickle. Afraid that Goodyear (Seamus) might not be able to fend for himself when the day finally comes, or that a fellow survivor will fricassee the pup, Fitch creates Jeff, a robot to care for his beloved dog. Don’t let Caleb Landry Jones’ name in the credits fool you. This is a one-hander, with Jones on board to provide Jeff with his voice and motion capture likeness. Fitch not only teaches the gangly bot how to drive an RV — no small feat when one considers our hero’s observation that Jeff was literally born yesterday — but he instills within his homemade friend lessons in trust and humanity. Miguel Sapochnik’s (Repo Men) sophomore feature asks that we come for the entertainment and stay for the ecological messaging. Either way, you win. (2021) — Scott Marks
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