The End of the Tour
Better to see this movie at home where you can walk away and pursue other interests. And let me predict that you will walk away.
The End of the Tour is a 1 hour 46 minute movie that seems infinitely longer. Focusing on a 5-day interview between Rolling Stone reporter David Lipsky (Jesse Eisenberg) and writer David Foster Wallace (Jason Segel) in 1996, the movie frequently becomes as tedious as the actual interview itself. It is little wonder that Rolling Stone rejected Mr. Lipsky’s submission even though Wallace’s 1,000 page novel “Infinite Jest” made him a literary celebrity.
Lipsky traveled to Wallace’s small ranch home in Champaign, Illinois, where he accompanied him on a short book tour. Sleeping in Wallace’s unkempt abode, the movie tries to allow the audience to penetrate the author’s mind. However, the exchange between the two spends a lot of time saying very little, and you gradually drew the feeling that Mr. Wallace was a reclusive, dull boy who dreaded attention.
Director James Ponsoldt’s greatest accomplishment was an exploration of Wallace’s fragile mental state. He clearly had danced with suicide some time before the interview, and he constantly wore his famous bandanna as an attempt to keep his head from exploding. It was no surprise that Wallace killed himself in 2008.
Jason Segel makes the most out of a famous writer who was little more than a one-dimensional shut-in. Living alone in a midwest farming community, he exhibited little hope for a future that appeared empty despite his fame.
Like Mr. Segel, Eisenberg also acts out of character, playing a reporter who quickly became suspicious that his interviewee’s psychological emptiness had to be hiding something. Despite probing here and there to try to find out what made Wallace tick, he was left with little more than a likeable lout who was able to literally transform himself into an embarrassed literary genius.
Much like The Diary of a Teenage Girl, this is a film that has received far more praise than it deserves. Despite some small performances from the always likeable Joan Cusack and several others, they did little to enhance the quality of this movie.
Please be warned that if you found yourself on a road trip with Wallace and Lipsky, you would likely be left moaning, “Mother of God, when can I get out of this car!”