Exceptional acting but the film sure isn’t for everyone…

by Martin Hafer

The End of the Tour is a hard-sell of a movie.  While it features Jesse Eisenberg and Jason Segal and you’d think the film would have mass appeal, it clearly does not.  This isn’t a complaint–many of the films I really enjoy are really not the sorts of films that would entertain the most viewers.  Instead, it’s a film for a narrow audience and if you think you might be among those who would appreciate the movie, by all means watch it.  After all, you will see some very nice acting and the story improves and gains momentum as the film progresses.

The story is about an odd sort of interview that took place when David Lipsky (Eisenberg) of Rolling Stone Magazine hung out with literary star David Foster Wallace (Segal) for several days back in the late 1990s.  Cutting right to the chase, the film begins with the announcement that Wallace committed suicide and the film is a flashback as Lipsky remembers the strange and very lengthy meeting the two had back in 1996.  As I said, this lasted days as the two just hung out together and talked…making it far different than a typical magazine interview.

The End of the Tour
Directed by
James Ponsoldt
Jason Segel, Jesse Eisenberg, Anna Chlumsky
Release Date
31 July 2015
Martin’s Grade: B+

As far as what they talk about and the themes of their meeting go, this really isn’t something I can really explain very well in a review–you just need to see it and experience it.  Instead, I would rather try to convey the style of their time together on the film.  It feels like you are a fly on the wall as two intellectuals talk and talk and talk….and talk.  Wallace generally presents more as an ‘Every Man’ sort of guy while Lipsky seems, at times, as if he’s trying to impress his new friend with his intellectual prowess.  What all this means…well, that’s really up to the viewer.

The bottom line is that if you really like action films, this film’s is probably not for you.  If you love ‘literature’ as opposed to just reading a book for enjoyment, this movie might be exactly what you’d love to see.  As for me, I think I’m in the middle on this one.  I can really respect the acting as well as the filmmakers’ desire to make a quality picture as opposed to a mass-marketed film.  But, on the other hand, the film is slow and very deliberate.  It also took a while until I really stared to appreciated it…and I’m not if I ever exactly enjoyed it.