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The End of the Tour 2015
Description: The storyline of the five-day interview between Rolling Stone reporter David Lipsky and acclaimed novelist David Foster Wallace, which took zone right after the 1996 publication of Wallace's groundbreaking epic novel, 'Infinite Jest.'
Released: 12 Nov 2015 Director: James Ponsoldt Writers: Donald Margulies (screenplay), David Lipsky (book) Actors: Joan Cusack, Jason Segel, Anna Chlumsky, Jesse Eisenberg Genres: Biography, Drama
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The End of the Tour Reviews:

Prior to seeing this film, I had limited knowledge of David Foster Wallace and his works. After seeing the film, I wanted to learn more. The End of the Tour (dir. James Ponsoldt) is a very reflective film, highlighting creator Wallace on the last stretch of his ebook tour for his novel Unlimited Jest. Our entry mission into this intriguing boy is David Lipsky, a Rolling Stone reporter hired to do a piece on him in the late 1990s.What tiny there is of plot is made up for in perfect characterization. The movie is really all about existentialism, and thankfully it never leans towards pretentiousness. Rather there is an air of optimism about making your time on world worthwhile. Wallace and Lipsky in a method represent two extremes of existentialism. Wallace is very relaxed, and takes his newfound celebrity with a grain of salt, while Lipsky is very Type-A, yet never brash or irritating. Lipsky has been trying to receive his foot in the door as an creator for a while now, while Wallace almost became popular overnight, and the movie plays with the idea of "fame" in fun and special ways. Through the film, Ponsoldt is able to discover these two extremes and search common ground between them, all while touching on the concept of fame and what it means to various people.The script is outstanding, and hits all the right notes I touched on above. The dialogue between Lipsky and Wallace feels natural, nothing is forced. I wonder how much improvisation was done for the film, because the two seem like nice mates from the moment they meet. There is a natural chemistry that draws these two characters together, and it's outstanding to watch on-screen. It's hard to adapt a ebook like Lipsky's, which is mostly interviews and recording, as the ebook was published after Wallace's death in 2008. But screenwriter Donald Marguiles makes it work, and the effect is an insightful, often hilarious film.All this talk about chemistry would be a waste if it weren't for Jason Segel and Jesse Eisenberg as Wallace and Lipsky, respectively. Segel is a marvel as Wallace; it's a performance that doesn't demand much, yet Segel taps into all of Wallace's nuances and quirks. His delivery, cadence, and warmth almost makes it feel like you're talking to an old friend. It's a subtle performance that I hope is remembered come awards season. Eisenberg, too, is great. His reporter-type isn't very developed until the middle-end of the film, and he might come across as annoying for some. But he makes Lipsky tick as the curious interviewer wanting to learn more. He's driven by his desire to success, his wish to create a successful piece for Rolling Stone, yet he ends up with a lot more.The End of the Tour is a large success. It isn't a very showy film, without much in the method of technical prowess, yet it's a talker. The realistic dialogue and blasé tone create the movie feel like a 140 minute hang out with two nice friends. Ponsoldt keeps a tight grip on the film's themes, never letting one overpower the film's real intentions. It's a unbelievable ode to Wallace, and a funny one at that.


In 1996 David Foster Wallace's 1079-page novel Unlimited Jest hit the literary stage like a rocket. The publisher's marketing efforts meant the ebook was everywhere, but the boy himself—shy, full of self-doubt, not wanting to be trapped into any literary poseur moments and seeing them as inevitable—was hard to read. This film uses a tyro journalist's eye to probe Wallace during an intense five days of interviewing toward the end of the Unlimited Jest ebook tour. As a tryout writer for Rolling Stone, reporter David Lipsky had begged for the assignment to write a profile of Wallace, which ultimately the magazine never published. But the tapes survived, and after Wallace's suicide in 2008 they became the basis for Lipsky's 2010 book, Although of Course You End Up Becoming Yourself, which fed David Margulies screenplay. The plot of the film is minimal; instead, it's a deep exploration of character. It may just be two guys talking, but I found it tectonic. Director James Ponsoldt has brought nuanced, clever performances from his two main actors—Jason Segel as Wallace and Jesse Eisenberg as reporter David Lipsky. Lipsky is a novelist himself, with a so-so ebook to his credit. Wallace has reached the heights, and what would it take for Lipsky to scramble up there too? Jealousy and admiration are at fight within him and, confronted with Wallace's occasional oddness, one manifestation of which is the attempt to be Super-Regular Guy—owning dogs, eating junk food, obsessively watching television—he isn't sure what to feel. You see it on his face. Is Lipsky mate or foe? He's not above snooping around Wallace's house or chatting up his mates to nail his story. Lipsky rightly makes Wallace nervous, the tape recorder makes him nervous; he amuses, he evades, he delivers a punch of a line, he feints. When the going gets too rough, Lipsky falls back on saying, "You accepted to the interview," and Wallace climbs back in the saddle, as if telling to himself, just finish this terrible ride, then back to the peace and solitude important now to write. In the meantime, he is, as A. O. Scott told in his Fresh York Times review, "playing the role of a writer in someone else's fantasy." The movie's opening stage delivers the fact of the suicide, which by design looms over all that follows, in the long flashback to a dozen years earlier and the failed interview. You can't support but interpret each statement of Wallace's through that lens. The depression is clear. He's been treated for it and for alcoholism, from which he seems to have recovered. The two Davids walk on the snow-covered farm fields of Wallace's Illinois home and talk about how pretty it is, but it is bleak, and even in as jam-packed an environment as the Mall of America Wallace's conversation focuses on the emptiness at the heart of life. Yet his gentle humor infuses almost each exchange, and Lipsky can be wickedly funny too. Wallace can't support but feel nice ambivalence toward Lipsky; he recognizes Lipsky's envy and his hero-worship, and both are troubling. He felt a truth inside himself, but he finds it almost impossible to capture and isn't sure he has, saying, "The more folks think you're really great, the bigger your fear of being a fraud is." Unlimited Jest was a widely praised literary success, but not to Wallace himself.


Saw this movie last weekend at its globe premiere at Sundance. First of all, Donald Margulies' script was fantastic. I am slightly partial to nice writing in film, so perhaps that's just what stood out to me, but the dialogue is incredibly well-written and natural and at least generally captures David Foster Wallace's fascinating method of talking. In essence (and in the greatest of ways), nothing really happens in this movie. There isn't a lot of high stakes drama, but that's exactly what makes it so compelling. It's like we as the audience receive a glimpse into two boys struggling with the same concepts about life, art, expression, addiction, culture, and depression. Jason Segel and Jesse Eisenberg live up to the task of interpreting the script, helped along the method by director James Ponsoldt. The direction is simple, and the camera work is relatively primary throughout, giving the actors plenty of room to work with natural rhythm. Segel definitely impressed me, as this was the first dramatic role I've seen him in. While he didn't exactly capture some of Wallace's real-life mannerisms, I'm not sure if that was exactly the mission of the film. He interpreted the script in a strong way, and I think that that ended up working out quite well for the overall tone of the film. Eisenberg played his usual somewhat neurotic, slightly asshole- ish hero very well, and I thought it fit the reporter role perfectly.Overall, I would strongly suggest the film. 9/10



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