It may be what in the old days was called a spiritual crisis or whatever. It’s just the feeling as though the entire, every axiom of your life turned out to be false, and there was actually nothing, and you were nothing, and it was all a delusion. And that you were better than everyone else because you saw that it was a delusion, and yet you were worse because you couldn’t function.
A while ago I compiled a list of films that I was looking forward to during the rest of the year, but unfortunately most of them don’t appear to be getting a UK release date, and one of those films was “The End of the Tour”. I had looked forward to the film since I first heard about it at the beginning of 2015, but I had resigned myself to not seeing it for a long time, but then one night at the end of 2015 I was browsing what was available to rent online, and I found a copy. Even though it was 11:30pm, I decided to make the investment and watch it.
I am admittedly a bit nervous going into this as one of the other films I profiled in the same list was “Infinitely Polar Bear” and I was very disappointed by that film, not through any fault of either Saldana and Ruffalo, but the child characters. As far as I’m aware, there aren’t any children at all during the run time of “The End of the Tour”, which can only be a good thing.
Please don’t be awful.
In 2008 David Lipsky (Eisenberg) receives a phone call to tell him David Foster Wallace (Segal), an acclaimed writer that he had interviewed during the 1990s had committed suicide. Feeling sad about the loss of someone he considered a friend, Lipsky finds the tapes of his conversation with Wallace and relives the few days that he spent with him.
Back in the 1990s Lipsky has just released his first novel, but he grows jealous when people already talk about another book being so good that it has practically already won all of the major awards, David Foster Ward’s “Infinite Jest”. Lipsky refuses to believe that it’s as good as people are saying it is, but upon reading it he becomes a huge fan, and begs his editor at Rolling Stone magazine to allow him to interview the writer. His editor reluctantly agrees.
Lipsky travels to Wallace’s home and starts the interview nearly straight away. Although the two share many length conversations about the variety of subjects, Wallace grows increasingly upset about some of Lipsky’s questions and attitude, whereas Lipsky starts to believe that Wallace is being false in order to appear more intellectual. The two share a fragile relationship until the end of the interview process.
Worth the wait?
Unlike “Infinitely Polar Bear”, I did enjoy “The End of the Tour” as it has arguably the best dialogue that I have heard in a film for a long time. This isn’t a movie full of action, comedy or even movement, most of the film is the characters just in general conversation in the car, on planes, etc, and it’s probably one of the wordiest films that I’ve ever seen in my life.
Normally I wouldn’t like a film where there is a lot of talking, but what I do like about “The End of the Tour” is that it is the conversations aren’t all serious and cover a variety of subjects. Much like the conversation in “Pulp Fiction” is very fluidic and genuine, the conversations in “The End of the Tour” do a great job in establishing not only Wallace’s intelligence, but also that both characters are actually just normal guys and that they feel comfortable talking about anything.
For example, there are conversations about movies, such as an entire conversation about masturbation – “Yes, you’re performing muscular movements with your hand as you’re jerking off. But what you’re really doing, I think, is you’re running a movie in your head. You’re having a fantasy relationship with somebody who is not real… strictly to stimulate a neurological response. So as the Internet grows in the next 10, 15 years… and virtual reality pornography becomes a reality, we’re gonna have to develop some real machinery inside our guts… to turn off pure, unalloyed pleasure. Or, I don’t know about you, I’m gonna have to leave the planet. ‘Cause the technology is just gonna get better and better. And it’s gonna get easier and easier… and more and more convenient and more and more pleasurable… to sit alone with images on a screen… given to us by people who do not love us but want our money. And that’s fine in low doses, but if it’s the basic main staple of your diet, you’re gonna die.”
I’m not going to lie and pretend that I knew who David Foster Wallace was before I heard about this film. I’ve stated in previous reviews that I’m not much of a reader (and some would argue that I’m not much of a writer), but much like a few other films that I’ve reviewed that chronicled a point in someone’s life, I went in completed blind to the person’s life and the events of what happens, and in many ways.
My only real complaint with the film is that it’s yet another in a long line of films in which Jesse Eisenberg plays practically the exact same character. He doesn’t change from film to film, his delivery of lines is exactly the same, his characters are always portrayed as neurotic and he just doesn’t change from film to film. I could literally be watching the same character over and over again. I just don’t enjoy watching him and whilst he’s not awful in “The End of the Tour”, this could be the same character that he played in films such as The Social Network, Adventureland and Zombieland.
Unlike Segal, who plays Wallace brilliantly, Eisenberg has seemingly no flexibility and again, whilst not awful, he is very much second fiddle to Segal and scenes which don’t involve Wallace are significantly reduced in terms of their impact and enjoyment. Segal moves away from his stereotypical jock-comedy style characters and gives a heart-warming and vulnerable performance of a clearly fragile man.
“The End of the Tour” is a very enjoyable, albeit very wordy movie. If you’re in the mood for an intelligent look into the mind of someone who was lauded by the majority of critics, then it is definitely worth checking out.
Whilst Eisenberg plays the same character he’s played in numerous other films, Segal is excellent as David Foster Wallace and brings him to life. The characterisation could have been so easily wrong in this film, but they executed it really well and you genuinely care about what the characters are saying.
The conversations between them are interesting and thought provoking, but more importantly natural and flowing.
If you get a chance to watch “The End of the Tour” then I would recommend it, although I’d recommend watching it when fully awake.