This year has so far been jam-packed with all kinds of action. Last May was the sequel to the Avengers, a team of superheroes chasing a robot with a Terminator-complex across the world. Only two weeks ago the fifth Mission Impossible movie, where Tom Cruise flew outside an airplane with only one harness to the hull.
What does The End of the Tour offer to this swirling sea of chaos? The five-day road trip Rolling Stone reporter David Lipsky spent with David Foster Wallace, the late author of the timeless story for a generation Infinite Jest. The story is based on Lipsky's book Although Of Course You End Up Becoming Yourself, where he recounts the time he accompanied Wallace on his final book tour for Infinite Jest in 1996.
It was 12 years after the tour when Wallace would commit suicide, and Lipsky would then publish his story about the journey. This is where the movie begins, and because of it, the audience has a fundamental understanding and sympathy for David Foster Wallace. It makes every moment with this character much more important, and the relationship between Wallace and Lipsky that much more meaningful and intimate.
Jason Segel's performance as David Foster Wallace has taken him completely out of his comfort zone. Most people recognize him from How I Met Your Mother, where he played Marshal Eriksen, a goofy lawyer from Minnesota. This is the first time Segel has gone serious for a role, and it should earn him an Oscar nomination at the very least. Putting aside the physical changes he went through to capture the appearance of David Foster Wallace, Jason Segel captured the essence of the late author. The idea behind this character was that he hadn't achieved the happiness that he thought would come with the publication of his book. He was afraid that one day he would be consumed by the fame, and the idea of that happening was worse than death.
While the role of David Lipsky may not have stretched Jesse Eisenberg out of his comfort zone, he surpassed expectations for his performance nonetheless. Lipsky is a reporter for Rolling Stone, but his true passion lies in fictional writing. He envies Wallace's life, which is part of why he wants to tell this story. There are moments where his character comes off as a little too jealous of Wallace, but he makes up for it in his willingness to approach him as a friend. Once Lipsky ignores his tape recorder, he opens up to Wallace in a way that completely changes the audience's impression of the character. By the end of the movie, Eisenberg shows that Lipsky and Wallace were more alike than they had cared to admit. They were the only people that understood what it was like to be alone, without anyone to share their stories with.
The End of the Tour may not have included explosions, or car chases, or superb action sequences. Essentially, it was a complex conversation between two men. But this didn't make it worse of movie than Age of Ultron. In fact, it made it better. It's a story of when the American Dream doesn't pay off. When it doesn't make life better, but makes a man more isolated than ever before. It was the story of David Foster Wallace, and how his fame made him become more and more unsure of himself and eventually consumed him. It was the end of his tour.