Film Review – The End of the Tour (2015)

The End of the Tour

Title – The End of the Tour (2015)

Director – James Ponsoldt (The Spectacular Now)

Cast – Jason Segel, Jesse Eisenberg, Joan Cusack, Mamie Gummer, Ron Livingston, Anna Chlumsky

Plot – Charts a 5 day interview that took place in 1996 between Rolling Stone reporter and budding novelist David Lipsky (Eisenberg) and troubled author David Foster Wallace (Segel) whose recently published book Infinite Jest had become a worldwide sensation.

“It may be what in the old days was called a spiritual crisis”

Review by Eddie on 6/04/2016

For an actor whose best known in a feature film sense for showcasing his unmentionables to Kristen Bell in the 2008 hit comedy Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Jason Segel’s performance in James Ponsoldt’s The End of the Tour easily marks itself down as one of 2015’s most pleasantly surprising and sadly forgotten about performances and helps make this tale of Segel’s author David Foster Wallace and Jesse Eisenberg’s Rolling Stone reporter David Lipsky’s whirlwind trip together a quietly powerful character study.

Following on from his fine work with his leads in the great 2013 romantic drama The Spectacular Now, Ponsoldt and his performers help make End of the Tour an attention commanding experience through virtually nothing more than conversations, carefully crafted scripting and a care for its subjects. Those going into End of the Tour expecting an event filled cross country trip will be left sorely disappointed by Ponsoldt’s unconventional take on the life affirming/mismatched buddy film but for those that get swept away by its low key approach, the work by Segel and Eisenberg will be a joy to behold.

The somewhat reclusive David Foster Wallace is the type of real life character that requires a layered and measured approach by an actor to inhabit and that’s what we get from Segel. It’s an awards worthy turn that in a higher profile event would’ve likely garnered him some well-deserved attention and it’s hopefully a kicking off point for the next stage of his career in more intimately affecting portrayals. Helping Segel’s complicated turn along on its way is Eisenberg who more recently has become a little bit of a self-imitating concern (hello Batman V Superman) but it’s great to see him tone it down to play quietly mannered Lipsky and between the two actors we get a respectful double act that deals effectively with loneliness, depression and what it means to be a writer.

The End of the Tour isn’t a film for those looking for a point A to point B look at Foster Wallace’s life or a film for those looking for more than heavy conversation led scenes but Ponsoldt’s film is a showcase for powerful storytelling without dramatization and a shining of the light into another side of Jason Segel, which thankfully doesn’t include more Forgetting Sarah Marshall type flesh baring. End of the Tour is absolutely one of 2015’s underseen gems.

4 late night service station snack runs out of 5

17 responses to “Film Review – The End of the Tour (2015)

  1. I was completely taken in by this film. I keep returning to those final moments, in which David dances euphorically at church, as the other David reads from his book.

  2. Good review Eddie. Both Segel and Eisenberg were amazing and really kept this interesting, even when it seemed to just linger on the fact of these two talking for nearly two hours.

  3. Great review, this was one of my favourites of last year, such a shame that more people haven’t seen it. I loved seeing Segel step out of his comfort zone and I actually thought his performance was worthy of an Oscar nomination

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