‘I think being shy basically means being self-absorbed to the extent that it makes it difficult to be around other people.’
The End of the Tour tells the story of five days that Rolling Stone journalist David Lipsky spent with enigmatic author David Foster Wallace. Having never heard of Wallace or his most famous work Infinite Jest, it was purely the cast and the director that brought The End of the Tour to my attention. Jesse Eisenberg plays Lipsky and Jason Segel gives a career defining performance as Wallace.
Segel is following in the footsteps of Robin Williams, Jonah Hill and to a lesser extent Adam Sandler in showing that he can move away from his comfort zone and still excel. Segel really is a revelation and he shines under the masterful direction of James Ponsoldt. The LA based director inspired Miles Teller to a similarly excellent performance in his last film The Spectacular Now and the thought of Ponsoldt collaborating with Tom Hanks on his next project is an intriguing one.
Lipsky and Wallace play a game of cat and mouse where the viewer is constantly trying to figure out which one is which. For large spells of the film, neither character is particularly likeable but they are both so charismatic that it barely matters. It should be noted however that Eisenberg is in danger of being typecast as a smart mouthed douchebag, but he does play the part convincingly.
I definitely didn’t know of David Foster Wallace before this film but I enjoyed it enough to order a copy of Infinite Jest so James Ponsoldt has done his job. An underrated gem.