On the record. So this is about Rolling Stone reporter David Lipsky (Jesse Eisenberg) and the five-day interview he conducted with acclaimed novelist David Foster Wallace (Jason Segel). This movie shows how they interacted with one another during the lengthy process. Now I honestly knew nothing about this before I sat down, and I went in completely blind. I didn’t even know who either one of these people were in real life; you can call me unread if you must, but I was only 10 years old in 1996, the year in which this movie is set. I know nothing of the works of either one of these gentleman, and with The End of the Tour, I did feel like I learned something about what they did along the way, which is exactly what you want out of a biographical story.
I love it when a movie can be accidentally educational.
Now both of these actors can be good when utilized correctly. Eisenberg gave a powerhouse performance in The Social Network, and Segel can be goofy and lovable in roles like Forgetting Sarah Marshall. It seems like they both had pretty lofty aspirations with this, and you can tell that they put the appropriate amount of work in. They are both actors that are difficult to see past the person, which is something that they have working against them; you either typically just see the comedian Jason Segel or the neurotic Jesse Eisenberg, regardless of the movie that they happen to be starring in. With The End of the Tour, there are moments where they resort back to there trademark mannerisms, but for the majority, I was able to simply see the characters that they were portraying.
Which wasn’t something that I expected to be saying here.
This is a character study, and it isn’t long before you are questioning just who is interviewing who. Both are playing their roles realistically, and neither one is overly likable. It’s a good script and feels honest, and I was able to get into the story of this. This really got no attention last year, which is a shame, because I feel that it is quality, and it is a departure for what both of these actors typically do. I think if you are familiar with either one of these people, this is a must see, but if you don’t know anything about them like me, it makes for a suitable learning experience.
The End of the Tour (2015) ***1/2
– Critic for Hire