The End of the Tour (2015)
Starring: Jason Segel, Jesse Eisenberg, Anna Chlumsky, Mamie Gummer, Joan Cusack
Directed by: James Ponsoldt
Written by: Donald Margulies
Rating: R Running Time: 1 hr. 46 min
Maybe if I had read Infinite Jest, the novel David Foster Wallace (Jason Segel) is famous for, or perhaps flipped through the pages of David Lipsky’s memoir about his days long interview with the acclaimed scribe, I’d have a better appreciation of The End of the Tour. I’d see this well acted word play as interesting and possibly even poignant, and buy into its observations on the human condition.
As it stands though, coming at this material with no knowledge of its inspiration, I found the experience of watching this film rather unmoving. I couldn’t understand the fuss being made about Wallace’s book, or Lipsky’s desire to interview the famous writer. And the resulting conversations during their brief time together were uncomfortable to watch.
From my perspective, The End of the Tour was a story about two writers waxing poetically about the world, and seemingly always on the verge of a big bust up. Like at any moment Lipsky would say something dumb, or Wallace would react weirdly to a harmless question. It was actually tiring and uncomfortable to watch, and when the more dramatic moments between these two men finally arrived, its root cause seemed weak to me, making the resulting tension between these writers seem overplayed.
This film will mean more to those familiar with these writers and their work. The End of the Tour is rated R for language.
This isn’t a grand visual spectacle that needs a theater sized screen to full appreciate it. A HD rental on your TV, laptop or tablet will service this film decently enough.
The performances from Jason Segel and Jesse Eisenberg.