Friday, September 4, 2015

The End of the Tour

What runs through someone's mind? Often times we can never be certain until we actually talk to that person. They can be clever, they can be boring. But many times, they can reveal depths no one knew about before.

James Ponsoldt's The End of the Tour is one of the latest films to focus on such a simple connection. Set during the last final days of Infinite Jest's book tour (as the title so obviously implies), it highlights the minds of two men: the famous interviewee and the less famous interviewer. (To be honest, this would make for a good double feature with Frost/Nixon.)

In the role of the interviewer  is Jesse Eisenberg as David Lipsky. Lipsky is a journalist and a writer in his own right but has yet to have his moment in the spotlight. Eisenberg plays Lipsky as someone who feels he's overdue for that moment but is willing to wait (though there are shades of his work from The Social Network).

In the role of the interviewee is Jason Segel as David Foster Wallace, and it's clear that this role is a step up from Segel's past work like How I Met Your Mother and Forgetting Sarah Marshall. He portrays Wallace as someone with dark demons but not to the point where they consume him. He keeps them hidden but it's clear he's suffering. In the last moments where we see him, you want to tell him that even when things are looking bleak there are a few bright moments amid them.

The End of the Tour shines a light on two men  with their own successes and flaws. (Side note: maybe more films of this nature but with women?) The work from Eisenberg and especially Segel make up for the film's weak spots, though the script does read like a (cleaner) David Mamet play. All in all, this is a film about two different yet similar men.

My Rating: ****1/2

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