Groundbreaking writer David Foster Wallace appears to have his innermost thoughts and fears laid bare in the new biographical film “The End of The Tour.”
In the movie Dave Lipsky (Jesse Eisenberg), a young reporter for Rolling Stone, interviews David Foster Wallace (Jason Segel) during his “Infinite Jest” book tour in 1995. Wallace’s 1,000-page novel made him an overnight sensation.
Strong performances from Segel and Eisenberg perfectly encapsulate what the experience of road tripping with a total stranger might be like. Male bonding interspersed with funny awkwardness injects unexpected comedy into this film that asks more questions than it answers.
Lipsky manages to forge a friendship with the relatable author, who despite his best efforts to portray himself as an “everyman,” emanates an intellectual air.
The conversations between the two writers expand from initial pleasantries to brutal indictments of American culture and the human condition.
The subject matter swings from funny observations on human imperfections to dramatic contemplation on mental illness.
The use of Wallace’s suicide in the beginning of the film to set the stage is a unique strategy that influences our understanding of the flashback that comprises most of the film.
This plot point uniquely frames Segel’s character without becoming a dominant element.
Based on Wallace’s history with mental illness and substance abuse, the film portrays the tortured artist. Beyond that, it is a profound movie that tackles weighty issues ranging from American consumerism, substance abuse and depression.