The End of the Tour – Review

Although Of Course You End Up Becoming Yourself: A Road Trip with David Foster Wallace is a 2010 book by novelist and contributing editor of Rolling Stone, David Lipsky.  Talented young director James Ponsoldt has brought the poignant and honest book into the world of film with, The End of the Tour.  Click through for my review of this wonderfully moving film.

1996's Infinite Jest announced author David Foster Wallace as a new powerhouse in the literary world.  David Lipsky pushed his Rolling Stone bosses to allow him the chance to interview DFW and get the first scoop on the novelist.  Lipsky spent 5 days traveling with David on the final leg of his book tour.  It's this business week that Director James Ponsoldt and screenwriter Donald Margulies have brought to vivid life with actors Jason Segel (David Foster Wallace) and Jesse Eisenberg (David Lipsky).  Eisenberg has showcased a real ability to transform himself into his roles, like Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg.  His dive into Lipsky is on the same level of brilliance.  The twitchy yet slightly confident nature of Lipsky is completely captured in Eisenberg's performance.  Jason's performance is the real highlight of the film though.  The movie is the first attempt at tackling the unique and tragic life of David Foster Wallace.  Jason captures David's physicality perfectly but it's his emotional journey that really bleeds off the screen.  We get to witness many aspects of David through the great performance by Segel.  As Lipsky's book was two authors testing each other while connecting on a fascinating friendship the actors mirror this so nicely.  The film is merely a series of interactions between the two men but is still completely gripping throughout. 

These moments of reality hold such captivating insights into the regular minds of these brilliant men.  With this film we see a director step up to a new level just as his actors are peaking with their talents.  As far as summer films goes this isn't your typical one.  It's set during the winter months and is constantly shown in the snowy depths of DFW's home.  The elements we get to see of Wallace's life are so profound and meaningful.  His famous choice of head gear, his two dogs Bella & Werner, his down to earth home and his shy personality.  The cinematography is perfectly set and shines over the two guys worlds.  We see each of their reactions to each other and to the limited number of folks they run into.  Their changing demeanors around women is a real highlight of the film.  Each man has his own different way of talking to different folks and it's that dynamic that must have connected the two different men.  Mixed in with the great DP work and acting is a superb film score that hits all the right 90's vibes.  But that music also helps create the haunting feeling that lingers over the entire film.  All of this made more impactful and emotional knowing David's suicidal fate really shook the literary world. 

A powerful tribute to DFW that uses the short portion from his book, Brief Interviews With Hideous Men, entitled Suicide as a Sort of Present.

The film doesn't concentrate on the hints or lack of hints at his fate, but does help paint a vivid picture of the young DFW dealing with his pending stardom.  Infinite Jest would fully change his entire life and his ability to live a normal regular existence.  He'd be forever changed by the utterly fanatical and loving fan base that would easily push him into the highest level of adulation any author could imagine.  And yet there are still so many mysteries to David's life and his final choices.  These unanswered elements still linger in the book world and beyond.  He's not the first author to take his life and he won't be the last, but he is certainly up there as one of the most brilliant.  James Ponsoldt's film and these fine performances give us an everlasting snippet of the time right before David and David would forever be changed by their successes.  Easily one of the most intelligent and thoughtful films of the year.  Slot this into your best movie of the year lists and sit back as these performances and this film get the recognition they deserve.  Do not miss out on this wonderful film.

DFW The End of the Tour Jason Segel

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The End of the Tour

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