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Review: The End of the Tour

Score:A

Director:James Ponsoldt

Cast:Jason Segal, Jesse Eisenberg, Mamie Gummer, Mickey Sumner, Joan Cusack

Running Time:106 Minutes

Rated:R

"David thought books existed to stop you from feeling lonely.  Living those days with him reminded me of what life was like" "“ David Lipsky

 

And with that quote, we get The End of the Tour, which is the true story of the five-day interview between Rolling Stone journalist David Lipsky and David Foster Wallace right after Wallace's 1996 publication of the novel Infinite Jest.

The End of the Tour could have very easily been another Sideways, a film that is just written and acted in such a way that it would get critical acclaim but is a one time only movie, but this is not that film.  The End of the Road has so many scenes that almost seem to drag, but then you look at it from another angle and you realize the importance of the action.  Case in point, about halfway through the film you see David Lipsky and David Wallace in an elevator in a very awkward momenz.  There are no words being said and all you hear is the "DING, DING, DING" of the floors being reached, and it keeps going on, and you start to almost feel like it's just there to drag the film out. Then it hits you-- it's meant to be that way so you can feel the sheer awkwardness of the film. 

 

Whoever James Ponsoldt used as his cinematographer needs a raise because the scenery that they captured on film was beautiful, and the way he captured Illinois in the winter with the pristine snow is breathtaking.  The pure snow is a great metaphor for Wallace himself; it's pure and untouched.  While there is this beautiful soul there, winter and the snow can be very depressing.  This movie is actually a great learning tool, particularly on learning how to shoot a film that is primarily just two men speaking to one another without much action and how to write spectacular dialogue. 

While I have been lauding the visuals of the movie, I feel the need to heap copious amounts of praise upon Jason Segal.  His performance is stunning, spectacular, astonishing; think up another synonym and you can slap it on him. He gives such an Oscar-worthy performance as David Foster Wallace that whenever he speaks on screen it is almost as though no one else matters.  He brings the very essence of Wallace to life, his depression, his aversion to fame and fortune; he brings  all of it to life in such a way that you forget that it's really Segal on the screen.  Obviously you know it's Segal because he still looks like Jason Segal, but in no way does he act like him in any way, shape or form.  And you just can't help but love Joan Cusack in any role she brings to life. She is a truly underrated actress that never gets the respect that I believe she really deserves.  That all being said, Jesse Eisenberg is a bit on the grating side and even when he is playing a character that is meant to be an "a-hole" who has a learning moment you can't tell that he learned anything.   The whole purpose of his character is that he is meant to have a learning moment, but with Eisenberg's acting, you never feel like he learned anything.  He just does his neurotic movements, and it seems like he is hoping you see through that.  The side players (Sumner, Gummer, Livingston, and Chlumsky) are great, and I kind of wish we could see more of them, but Segal's performance more than make up for them not being in there much.

The drive from the movie theater to my house with my brother in the car was filled with just us talking about how great the film is and how we would have gladly paid for this movie.  This is one of those movies that should get more praise than what it is going to receive.  If you want to see a great film, not movie, but a great film, go watch this movie.

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About Robert Bexar II

Robert Bexar II

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