HTS Moderator , Reviewer
Title: The End of the Tour
HTS Overall Score:75
How do you make a movie about an interview interesting? I mean, how do you sit for almost 2 hours and watch two people talk about their life and make it a compelling movie? I wasn’t sure how it would pulled off, even if it was about someone as interesting as David Foster Wallace, one of this centuries greatest writers. “The End of the Tour” isn’t a work of genius that will transcend all time, but it takes a seemingly dull subject and actually makes it into an interesting film. At times it is inaccurate to the source material, but as a whole it is a fascinating piece of work, more akin to delving into the IDEA of someone’s mind rather than the actual mind.
David Foster Wallace is probably one of the most prolific authors of our time. A simple literary professor, he managed to write several incredibly long novels that have simply been a treat to read. Unpretentious, insightful and poignantly funny, they are every bit as good as the movie makes them out to be. His novel “Infinite Jest” started it all, and has become the quintessential novel that people think of when David Foster Wallace comes to mind. “The End of the Tour” chronicles the time when Wallace’s book tour for “Infinite Jest” was just wrapping up, as journalist for Rolling Stones, David Lipsky comes to interview the author for a few days.
Describing the plot of the movie is almost impossible, as the movies itself isn’t structured with a standard 1st, 2nd and 3rd act that most moviegoers are used to. Instead it is a road trip movie that acts as memorialization and slice of life for the author. When Journalist David Lipsky reads David Foster Wallace’s latest novel, he simply HAS to go and interview the author. Begging his boss for a piece of the action, David flies out and comes face to face with the famous author. Upon arriving, David’s mental image of the man is shattered. Wallace is a shy guy who loves dogs, and is pretty much an eccentric shut in. Following him around on the book tour proves to shatter many of his preconceived notions about the man, and actually creates a time of introspection for the young journalist.
As I said, it’s rather hard to summarize the events of the movie. I wouldn’t say that the narrative is loose, or weak, but more like that the movie tries to summarize how David Foster Wallace actually thought. The two David’s are just discussing the meaning of life, what makes things beautiful in the world and watching how one man exists in this crazy world. That may sound boring as all get out, but believe me, it’s not once you see it in motion. I can’t say that “The End of the Tour” is the best movie I have ever seen, but I have to say that I honestly was never bored while watching it. Jason Segel has to be commended with his portrayal of Wallace. I’ve always enjoyed Jason as a comedic actor, and even a few dramatic moments of his life, but he completely absorbed himself into the character so thoroughly that I couldn’t even really tell that it was him at times. The humor was all gone, replaced by a shy, eccentric writer that could barely deal with the realities of life. While I can’t say that his portrayal will win an Oscar, it is by far the actor’s most complex and different role to date.
While the movie is fairly accurate in many ways, it unfortuantley white washes David Foster Wallace a bit more than he was in real life. They gloss over a few drinking problems and some fame issues, but unfortunately do not even attempt to keep accuracy with Foster’s huge drug and sex addiction. They made him out to be this sweet guy with some deep depression issues, instead of the deeply troubled character that he was. His acting out is the thing of legends, with him having sex with more than one student over the course of his career as well as a few strange obsessions that had him saying he was going to kill someone’s husband due to his love for this character. So I would say that “The End of the Tour” is more a movie about how David Foster Wallace was in spirit, rather than a completely accurate biopic of his life.
Rated R for language including some sexual references
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=58361[/img]As with a lot of modern films, “The End of the Tour” is shot completely digitally, and looks quite pleasing to the eyes. The 2.40:1 AVC encoded transfer looks good, but never truly GREAT. Colors are nice, with a shift from pale whites and blues to a more yellowish tone when the duo goes inside of Wallace’s house and the Minneapolis hotel room. Detail ranges from good to great, with the great being the outdoor shots, and the good being indoor scenes where I noticed a bit of softness and digital noises. Blacks look good for the most part, but occasionally suffer from crush and a bit of noise, which was readily apparent when Wallace and Lipsky walk from the car to his house after going out for their first sit down in the diner.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=58369[/img]“The End of the Tour” is a drama, and as such, you get a drama based sound track. There will be no explosions, or tons of special surround usage and a majority of the audio track will be dialog. Said dialog is crisp and clear, with solid imaging in the front channels. There are some simple ambient noises that trickle into the surrounds, but for the most part it’s all about the dialog. Dynamic range is mild, with a few little surprises in store, and there is some nice LFE in a few spots, the most noticeable being when Wallace and Lipsky make their entrance into Minneapolis with the Boing 747. The 5.1 DTS-HD MA is a simple dramatic track, and while it isn’t to do a whole lot, it does what is asked of it with aplomb.
• Deleted Scenes
• Audio Commentary with Director James Ponsoldt, Writer Donald Margulies & Actor Jason Segal
• A Conversation with Composer Danny Elfman
• Behind the Tour
“The End of the Tour” is quirky little biopic, that is just as controversial as it is interesting. Apparently David Foster Wallace’s family were incensed at the old audio tapes being used as the basis of the film (the interview for Rolling Stones was never actually published), and while that doesn’t have much bearing on the film, it does add a bit of reality to the esoteric biopic. The audio and video for the release are more than satisfactory, and there is a rather impressive commentary on the disc that has a wealth of information about the author. Definitely worth a solid rental.
Starring: Jason Segel, Jessie Eisenberg, Joan Cusack
Directed by: James Ponsold
Written by: Donald Margulies (Screenplay), David Lipsky (Book)
Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1 AVC
Audio: ENGLISH: DTS-HD MA 5.1
Runtime: 108 minutes
Blu-ray Release Date: November 3rd, 2015
Buy The End of the Tour Blu-ray on Amazon
Recommendation: Good Rental
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