‘The End of the Tour’ follows a 1996 interview with writer David Foster Wallace (Jason Segal) done by David Lipsky (Jesse Eisenberg, who proves once again that he is more than just the poor man’s Michael Cera). Lipsky reads Foster Wallace’s novel ‘Infinite Jest,’ sees him as a voice of the generation author, and convinces his editor at ‘Rolling Stone’ t allow him to do an interview. Lipsky wants to discuss ideas, while the editor wants him to get a scoop on some juicy rumors about the writer. One person wants to tell a story, while the other wants to tell one. There are a lot of subtle conflicts set up during the story. Foster Wallace does appear to see Lipsky as a kindred spirit throughout the film, but also as someone with his own agenda, so there is a trust issue.
Director James Ponsoldt uses the backdrop of a rural northern Indiana winter to convey Foster Wallace’s isolation. Yes, it takes place during the winter, but the director really used the setting well. Most of the film takes place in doors, so he could have chosen to use the exterior less than he did. It is important to the ultimate feeling of the film. It emphasized that Lipsky’s interview subject desperate wanted to connect with people and didn’t know how. While the two men discuss their ideas, mostly philosophical, they connect, yet clearly feel in competition with each other. Foster Wallace quickly invites Lipsky to stay at his home rather than a motel the first night, but later becomes territorial when he perceives that Lipsky is flirting with his ex girlfriend. Lipsky becomes similarly defensive when his own girlfriend has a conversation on the phone with Foster Wallace that extends beyond a friendly hello. It lives up to the title of the story on which the film is based ‘Although of Course You End U Becoming Yourself: A Road Trip with David Foster Wallace.’
This is definitely not a film that is for everyone. The dialogue is very heavy on discussing ideas, but that dialogue is well blended with the subtle actions of characters and the atmosphere. It doesn’t go on and on and one to the point of self indulgence, which often happens in films of this subgenre. It is also never excessively slow, but it is often subdued. It will likely be worth re-watching later. It began playing at the Neon in Dayton and the Esquire in Cincinnati on August 21st and will continue at least until September 3rd. On August 28th screenings will be added to the Little Art in Yellow Springs, so there are plenty of opportunities to see it.