Jason Segal and Jesse Eisenberg. That really does sound like such a strange and unworkable on-screen duo, doesn’t it? But their efforts throughout The End of the Tour highlight the strengths they hold as actors.
Depending almost entirely on the chemistry and relationship between the two, The End of the Tour documents the interview David Lipsky (Jesse Eisenberg) made with famous fiction writer David Foster Wallace (Jason Segal). Hearing of his sudden passing, Lipsky reminisces about the time he spent with Wallace in what is one of the longest flashbacks in movie history.
What’s incredible about this movie is that it showcases some of the best work Eisenberg and Segal will ever create, but it’s not that good of a movie overall. The film relies extremely heavily on the chemistry too, however that can only take us so far. By all means is that chemistry good, providing some of the strongest parts of the movie as a whole. Their discussions of life, relationships and everything in between felt on a level with the likes of Woody Allen’s many outputs and the Before trilogy. Just two characters talking, the writing building them and overlapping into one another as they work out their common interests.
Eventually their awkward distaste for one another sprouts, in scenes that teeter on abysmal. The swerve feels rushed, the two go from being as close as old friends to as distant as fresh strangers in a matter of seconds. There are elements early in the movie that are planted which make it painstakingly obvious that the two would fall out and eventually rekindle their fondness for one another. Very by the books in that regard, but if it isn’t broken you shouldn’t fix it.
The real-life altercations between the two may interest those who are bookworms or literary collectors, but for those of us that hadn’t heard of either David or David, it’s got a lot of work cut out for it. I definitely didn’t watch this movie for a brief intercut of Disco 2000. That would’ve been a silly idea, and surely something I wouldn’t dream of doing.
In any case, the main aim of a biopic should be to introduce those that have a minimal understanding of a subject into the story. Giving generalisations or slightly altering the facts can be forgiven in the case of making a story that will catch the eye of someone that may be looking for a new interest. For me, that wasn’t the case. But to say I didn’t enjoy learning about Wallace’s books and Lipsky’s impressions of the writer would be wrong, because The End of the Tour has some certainly enjoyable moments throughout, ones that you simply wouldn’t expect from a traditional biopic format.