In 1996, considered one of the funniest literary voices of his generation, David Foster Wallace was on the tail end of a literary tour promoting his controversial book “Infinite Jest” when Rolling Stone assigned their newbie reporter, David Lipsky to get the scoop on Wallace, his writing methods and alleged use of heroin.
David Foster Wallace was considered a brilliant, literary genius when Infinite Jest was published. Wallace was also known to have a bit of a temper, could be a bit of a jerk, known to physically abuse his girlfriends, as well as, having an extremely complicated relationship with his parents. So, why would he let a reporter follow him around and possibly expose all of his well-kept secrets? Was it ego or the need to be seen in another light? As life would have it, we will never know. Wallace committed suicide in 2008.
Lipsky’s interview for Rolling Stone was to compliment a piece they planned to publish on the heroin scene at that time. However, upon returning from Seattle, Lipsky was informed his interview with Wallace would never see the light of day. That is until now…
The End of the Tour chronicles the time Lipsky and Wallace spent together during the course of this tape recoded interview for Rolling Stone. Screenwriter Donald Margulies did an exceptional job adapting nearly 70-80% of the recorded dialogue into the screenplay allowing us to be a fly on the wall of two intellectual men having a conversation with a third character – the tape recorder.
Jesse Eisenberg is very skilled at speaking with rapid-fire speed while eliciting a cunning, yet ancillary characterization of David Lipsky. He really is a marvel to watch. However, it’s the performance of Jason Segel as David Foster Wallace that is the standout of this film. His range and comprehension of David Foster Wallace from recordings to the screen is surreal and a performance to not be missed in 2015!
While the majority of this film occurs between Segel and Eisenberg and is quite intense, it is of great relief to have Joan Cusack as tour promoter Patty as the brief comic relief.
Director James Ponsoldt accomplished the impossible of making this film a work of art that could easliy be boring, but is captivating from the first frame to the last.
If you want to find out why Lipsky kept the tapes, you’ll have to check out The End of The Tour when it opens this week on July 31st. The End of the Tour made its US debut at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival.