Ever so often there comes a film that’s so understated in it’s ambition yet so powerful in it’s impact that it moves you without really giving you a spectacle. The End of the Tour is such a movie.
On the surface the film is about two guys having a series of really interesting conversations, it’s based on the true story of the five-day interview between Rolling Stone reporter (and novelist) David Lipsky (Jesse Eisenberg) and acclaimed novelist David Foster Wallace (Jason Segel), which took place right after the 1996 publication of Wallace’s groundbreaking epic novel, Infinite Jest.
But in essence it’s far more than just that. It’s a film that offers profound observations on things like loneliness and jealousy and what it means to be famous. A lot of the film is about what it means to be a writer as well and I would say that this is one of the few films that offers a very honest portrait about the craft of writing. But the film also feels like an investigation of human condition which makes it so beautiful and moving.
In a sense the film serves as a biopic of writer David Foster Wallace, who took the literary world by storm when he wrote Infinite Jest back in 1996 and is often referred to as one of the most influential writers of the past twenty years, but the film never concentrates on his life, rather a specific period of five days and still manages to offer a comprehensive look into his character.
At it’s center the film has two fantastic performances from Jesse Eisenberg and Jason Segel (even more so) which more or less carry the movie. Jason Segel offers an incredible and wonderfully measured performance as David Foster Wallace, brimming with sensitivity and nuance. It will be a shame if this performance goes unnoticed come awards season because it truly is one of the best performances of the year, and complimenting him is Jesse Eisenberg, who does so well in exhibiting the jealousy and insecurity of his character, while also making him oddly endearing.
The End of the Tour takes a relatively conventional story and turns it into a soulful and riveting cinematic experience. It’s a film that moves you consistently and the performances, particularly Jason Segel’s are enough to warrant a viewing.