The End of the Tour Review: Inside Out With David Foster Wallace

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The story of David Foster Wallace is a sad one. The End of the Tour tells it by encapsulating a lot of what makes it sad into just five days Wallace (Jason Segel) shares with Rolling Stone writer David Lipsky (Jesse Eisenberg).

The film smartly keeps things simple, purposefully avoiding the tragic events themselves and showing us the mindset that led to them. Taking place on the tour for Wallace’s acclaimed novel Infinite Jest, we see him struggle with his growing fame and his own authenticity.

But for such a remarkable mind, it’s unfortunate that the film just looks and feels unremarkable. The script is pretty strong, but visually, there is very little to chew on. It’s pretty run-of-the-mill without any justification for this story being told on the big screen as opposed to any other medium.

The closest we get is Segel’s committed and layered performance as Wallace. For those who know the actor simply as the funny man, there is a lot of powerful dramatic work at play here, just about all of which Segel sells without skipping a beat.

It’d have been rewarding to have an equally great performance opposite him, but Eisenberg is still doing the same thing he does in every movie: just barely being able to humanize entitled a**holes. The young actor seems stuck on what worked for him in The Social Network. It doesn’t work as well here. Perhaps it’s time for him to retire this schtick.

But The End of the Tour gets by with its thorough examination of Wallace. Jason Segel fans interesting in how the actor does with dramatic work will want to check it out. But there have admittedly been far more interesting indies this summer to occupy the mind. Grade: B

By Matt Dougherty

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