The End of the Tour  : Wander into the Psyche of Writers
“To read David Foster Wallace was to feel your eyelids pulled open.”
Directed by James Ponsoldt & written for screen by Donald Margulies, The End of the Tour stars Jason Segel & Jesse Eisenberg in one of their life time performance. Here are thoughts of two wanna be writers on the film about two writers.
Review by Shikhar
This is only his fourth film and James Ponsoldt has proved yet again that he might not be visually proactive in telling his tales but his way of dealing, specifically with ‘two’ characters will become a forte soon. All his films have two characters having endless conversations which are never boring but proactive and real.
The End of the Tour is essentially a character study that operates both, on the mind of a writer and an interviewer. It slices open and presents the mind, spooling everything out on the screen. Ponsoldt film is firmly grounded to reality and yet its uniquely profound in its intimate way of understanding and perceiving oneself and others. The End of the Tour is also a fitting homage to the infinite mind of a depressed soul and a prodigy who doesn’t understand the way the minds of a male, female and a cartoon should be represented on a personal wall.
The End of the Tour also examines how artists and writers are received and perceived in this ever changing world. Its takes on an interesting, often sad dive into the mythmaking, fame-crazed culture, exercising the talented and the mediocre minds. It says that there aren’t reason for how things turn out eventually. Its mostly because we are too scared to choose anything but the safe side, or maybe its because we did take the other side but never got a proper road to travel on.
Review by Nafees
“Some writers specialize in the ‘away from home’ experience. Writers like Salinger and Fitzgerald forge an unbreakable bond with readers. You didn’t slip into the books looking for a story, information,but for a particular experience the sensation, for a certain number of pages,” David Lipsky quote while flipping through the cassettes in search of living again that experience , that sensation, that slice of a life shared with David Foster Wallace. Call it serendipity or mere fate, but if we look at the filmography of James Ponsoldt, you will find uncanny resemblance of the characters in all his films with the life of David Foster Wallace & David Lipsky. Even the bittersweet chemistry they share will reminiscent of chemistry from the lead pair in his earlier work.
The End of the Tour does not only benefit from Aaron Sorkin-que writing that involves frequent agile exchange of dialogues with good enough pauses of silence to soak the experiences of two starkly different character exploring the human condition, but also from the empathetically splendid performance from Jason Segel starring as Wallace and equally excellent performance by Jesse Eisenberg. James Ponsoldt neither tries to sugarcoat the character of David Wallace nor he hogs on his backstory to render emotional substance to the character. He rather weaves the story like a road trip in both physical and metaphorical sense. He let the audience creep into the psyche of both the characters and present us with dense & layered material that takes a deep dive into jealousy,shallowness,insecurity and loneliness.
Film never tries to educate you on how to deal with all the shit mentioned earlier, but it just romanticizes with the different dimensions of loneliness , and repercussions on awkward and crippled social life. The End of the Tour is adaptation of a memoir written by David Lipsky about his time (five days) with a writer and Lipsky says, “To read David Foster Wallace was to feel your eyelids pulled open.” Watching this film feels very similar.