XIXAX Film Forum

The End of the Tour

Fuzzy Dunlop · 2 · 998

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Fuzzy Dunlop

  • The Vision Quest
  • **
    • Posts: 191
on: August 04, 2015, 11:52:32 PM

THE END OF THE TOUR tells the story of the five-day interview between Rolling Stone reporter (and novelist) David Lipsky (Jesse Eisenberg) and acclaimed novelist David Foster Wallace (Jason Segel), which took place right after the 1996 publication of Wallace's groundbreaking epic novel, Infinite Jest. As the days go on, a tenuous yet intense relationship seems to develop between journalist and subject. The film is based on Lipsky's critically acclaimed memoir about this unforgettable encounter, written following Wallace's 2008 suicide.

Directed by James Ponsoldt
Release Date: 7/31 (limited)

I thought this was pretty fantastic. I'm a massive fan of DFW's work, so I really could have gone either way, and was so relieved they didn't fuck it up. It's smart, moving, and hugely cinematic despite being essentially two guys talking.

If anyone had doubts about Segel being up for the challenge (I didn't), get ready for a huge surprise. There are moments when I completely forgot it was him, which almost never happens to me. It was kind of spooky. Part of that is because of his intensity and clear personal connection to the material, and the other is that the bulk of his dialogue is straight from Lipsky's transcripts. This is the closest we can reasonably expect to get to an honest biopic -- Wallace, in one specific moment in time, in his own words.


In fact, I would say that the film actively avoids most of the traps and cliches a biopic can fall into (writer as mythic hero/tragic figure, romanticizing depression/suicide) by accentuating Wallace's concerns about those very things in the text, as well as Lipsky's struggle with how to approach and write about a man with such towering ability yet such painfully human frailty. The concerns of the characters are the concerns of the filmmakers, who manage to jump through a minefield and deliver one of the all-time great two-handers, on par with My Dinner With Andre and the Before trilogy, that is also a touching ode to an artist whose work meant a hell of a lot to some people.


  • The Master of Two Worlds
  • *****
    • Posts: 2844
Reply #1 on: August 05, 2015, 01:38:46 AM
on par with My Dinner With Andre and the Before trilogy

The End of the Tour screenplay was written by Pulitzer winning Donald Margulies, which you didn't mention for some reason -- I'm pointing out My Dinner with Andre was indeed written by Andre Gregory and Wallace Shawn, and with the Before trilogy one notices Kim Krizan disappear and Julie Delpy and Ethan Hawke appear in writing credits. You mean they're similar movies in spirit, and I still think that's a reach, but yeah they're kinda similar like that.

Thought this was a solid movie, which Ponsoldt compared to California Spilt. It is very much like a 70s buddy movie. Unfortunately I found the last ~20mins of this movie a chore to get through. Basically the manbaby argument, from then on, I was zoned out. That's an example of a relationship dynamic that could be wonderful and valuable with authentic textures, and here composed as this movie with these actors and whatnot, it just bothered me. Real life is hard and challenging, and it bothers me how difficult moments become cheap and easy in narratives.

But the end made me too hard on the beginning. There's lots of good stuff in here. I don't think there's a fucking chance in hell this movie would be being celebrated if DFW wasn't the central character, but I'm glad he is and it is and there you go.