The End of the Tour
Directed by James Ponsoldt
Written by Donald Margulies
Starring: Jason Segel and Jesse Eisenberg
After the publication of the novel Infinite Jest, a writer at Rolling Stone magazine David Lipsky (Eisenberg) undertakes a lengthy interview with the author of Infinite Jest David Foster Wallace (Segel). Over the course of the encounter, the two men bond and learn about each other’s life philosophies.
The strengths of The End of The Tour are the performances of Segel and Eisenberg. The movie is a lot like a play in that the film is driven by the dialog and the interaction of the two characters. Segel and Eisenberg are fantastic together they have an excellent chemistry and play well off each other. Both Segel and Eisenberg give awards-caliber performances especially Segel. Segel’s performance in The End of the Tour is a career defining performance. A performance that hits all the notes that it needs to hit to be a satisfactory performance for the kind of film that The End of the Tour is without being overly pyrotechnic. Eisenberg also gives a strong performance in the film. Where Segel plays it more low-key, Eisenberg gives a performance of less subtlety. Eisenberg’s performance is the more pyrotechnic of the two performances, but at least one performance is needed like that in a film to keep it from being dull. The other strength of The End of the Tour is that the film feels like a play. The film is comprised of intimate conversations held between Segel and Eisenberg’s characters held in a few locations. The play like structure works for the film because it allows you to follow the characters as their relationship develops over the few days that the interview takes place. The film lives and dies by the interaction between Segel and Eisenberg, and fortunately, for the film they had a great chemistry.
The weakness of The End of the Tour is that the conflict that arises between the two characters is shoehorned in for the sole purpose of creating conflict. The event that creates the conflict between the two characters is an arbitrary event that makes any conflict that resulted from it seems insignificant. It appeared that the conflict was there to move along the plot, as a conflict should, but the conflict was there for plot convenience.
The End of the Tour is a strong film that exceeds as a performance piece for Segel and Eisenberg. Hopefully, one, or both of them receives Academy recognition for their performances. The movie is also a fascinating character drama. However, the film suffers from a throwaway and trivial conflict. The End of the Tour receives a 4/5.