Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Movie Review: "The End of the Tour" (2015)

Image Source
Movie"The End of the Tour"
Director: James Ponsoldt
Year: 2015
Rating: R
Running Time: 2 hours, 17 minutes

Rolling Stone writer David Lipsky (Jesse Eisenberg) interviews the prolific writer of "Infinite Jest," David Foster Wallace (Jason Segel), during the last few days of his 1996 book tour.

The film "The End of the Tour" is told in a reflective fashion. It opens in 2008 with David Lipsky, played by Jesse Eisenberg, hearing the news of writer David Foster Wallace's suicide. Lipsky then digs up the tapes of recorded interviews he had done with Wallace, played here by Jason Segel, 12 years earlier that he used to write a piece in Rolling Stone. Essentially, this is a movie about an interview. It is all about two men who sit down and have various conversations together over the course of five days. Now, this may not sound like the most riveting cinema for most people, and even we're apprehensive about character sketches like this. Fortunately, their conversations, most of which are taken verbatim from the actual interview tapes, are enthralling to say the least. For a film that's nearly 100% talking, we were totally gripped by the way David Foster Wallace saw himself and how he saw the world. It's not like we are David Foster Wallace fans either. We have never read any of his books, and BigJ wasn't even aware he existed prior to this film. After watching "The End of the Tour," it helps give us an understanding of him as a person, or at least how he wanted the rest of the world to see him. He clearly had his perception of the world as a whole and definitely had some sort of demons lurking in the shadows.

Jason Segel does a fantastic job as David Foster Wallace. Wallace is an insecure intellectual who has battled addiction and depression, but has the amazing ability to express his thoughts in an interesting manner. Segel is showy, but not in the way you'd expect. He tones down his performance to mimic Wallace's almost under-appreciation for life. It's obvious Wallace is troubled and quite jaded as a person, and we completely believe Segel as this kind of a individual. Jesse Eisenberg also offers up a solid performance doing what he does best, the shrugging, awkward, writer type. As David Lipsky, Eisenberg has the feel of both an interviewer simply trying do his job, and an unexpected friend trying to get to know a man. Lipsky, who is also a writer, has a clear mix of admiration for Wallace's abilities and talents, as well as an envy and jealousy of his success. There is an air of posturing from both men as they both try to navigate nearly a week of talking and traveling with one another.

"The End of the Tour" is unexpectedly riveting. The dialogue is precision point sharp and intellectually stimulating, which kept us wholly engaged throughout the film's run time. Featuring a career-defining, underappreciated performance from Jason Segel and another great performance by Jesse Eisenberg, this movie has made us want to know more about David Foster Wallace, and I may even read "Infinite Jest" now because of it. We're not exactly convinced that the collective masses would enjoy this film, but we certainly did.

My Rating: 8.5/10
BigJ's Rating: 8/10
IMDB's Rating: 7.4/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 91%
Do we recommend this movie: Yes!

No comments:

Post a Comment