Review by Ken Burke
The End of the Tour (James Ponsoldt)
Based on real events, this is a cognitively/emotionally intense recounting of the short relationship between famed author David Foster Wallace on his latest book tour and author/reporter David Lipsky in 1996 as these men explore creativity, success (and its problems), friendship, and trust in a story with very little action but lots of worthwhile contemplation.
Take care, curious readers, for plot spoilers gallop rampantly throughout the Two Guys’ insightful reviews. Therefore, be warned, beware, and read on when you’re ready to be transported to … wherever we end up. Please protect your eyes from the dazzling brilliance.
Anyway, that’s my not-quite-4-stars-complaint about The End of the Tour, at least until I read that monstrous book which might change my attitude about what this film chose to do with Wallace's tome and its account of the author (my better-read-than-me-wife, Nina, ordered it for us so I’ll get back to you in about 10 years when I’ve finished reading it), although I can’t believe that director Ponsoldt really expected his potential audience to be familiar with this weighty novel before seeing his film or else it’d probably have grossed even less than the $405,650 (much less than half of its budget) earned in the 3 weeks it’s been out. The film has to work on its own for those who know Infinite Jest and the vast majority who don’t. For me, the interactive-all-dialogue-all-the-time-approach of My Dinner with Andre accomplishes this task whereas The End of the Tour needs to keep us on its road a little longer to completely connect (if you’d like to know more about Wallace, here’s a place to start; you can also explore the links for this film below to watch the real Lipsky talking at length about his brief but very-consequential-time together with the famed writer).
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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BOyXREl23a4 (32:51 interview with actors Jason Segal and Jesse Eisenberg, more penetrating questions and detailed answers than in a lot of festival Q & A sessions; if you really want an in-depth exploration of the two real people that this film is about here’s a presentation on December 13, 2011 by David Lipsky talking about the late David Foster Wallace at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-6Yw3fORLv4 [part 1, 34:15] and https://www. youtube.com/watch?v=0sLi0pTe6jI [part 2. 14:45])
If you’d rather contact Ken directly rather than leaving a comment here please use my new email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks.
By the way, if you’re ever at The Hotel California knock on my door—but you know what the check out policy is so be prepared to stay for awhile. Ken
P.S. Just to show that I haven’t fully flushed Texas out of my system here’s an alternative destination for you, Home in a Texas Bar, with Gary P. Nunn and Jerry Jeff Walker.
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