The End of the Tour Blu-ray Review
It’s crazy to think that one of the most entertaining movies of the year is a conversation about love, life, movies, drugs, and odds and ends between David Foster Wallace (Segel) and reporter, David Lipsky (Eisenberg). It’s a movie that captures a certain essence about living, sprinkling nuances from the 90’s to help frame what kind of state of mind and attitude our characters are in. THE END OF THE TOUR is for a very select audience, but that niche audience will love it to pieces.
The movie unnecessarily opens with the announcement that Wallace has committed suicide, but this is in 2008. The announcement has the now successful and wiser Lipsky reflecting on his meeting with the bizarre author back in 1996 for a piece that would never be written for Rolling Stone magazine. Lipsky arrives for a five day meeting to learn more about Wallace and pick his brain to see if any of the TMZ gossip that was circulating around in the mid-90’s is true. From that point, the movie follows both of them as they walk and talk, sit and talk, include others in their talking, eat and talk, and talk in other various scenarios. The average passerby could easily view this as dry and I’ll admit the subject material is far from marketable.
And even as I write this it’s difficult to talk about the talking that takes place THE END OF THE TOUR. In fact it’s very deliberate with the fact that it’s going to be a movie you study more than sit back and relax. Because it’s deliberate, I get the suspicion that every person watching this movie will come away with different tid bit or theme since so much of it is rich in meaning and themes. You literally have to hang off of every word so you don’t miss what both of these men are about.
Both of these men are clearly intelligent individuals, but Wallace seems more honest and open while Lipsky appears to be more withholding of who he is. That’s a natural instinct in terms of journalism, but we watch Lipsky slowly reveal more and more. This may be because Lipsky is hoping to connect with Wallace and establish a basic level of friendship. You also have to wonder if Lipsky is hoping to impress upon Wallace that he too is a literary genius with a unique and original view of the world. Regardless of Lipsky’s reasons, Wallace seems happy with the comfort of another human being in his hoarder house, amongst his many animals.
The conversations lead to many moments of agreement and batting of ideas back and forth. Since this is a movie, and there needs to be a logical climax and conclusion, the two inevitably fight, reconcile, and go their separate ways. In no way am I spoiling the movie with that fact because the real entertainment of THE END OF THE TOUR comes from the scattered, mini conversations and incidents they have in the overall trip.
The real highlights of the movie are the performances by Segel and Eisenberg. While we’ve seen Eisenberg play young experts hoping to branch out and create their own path in a vast field, Segel seems to showcase his acting abilities. He’s already shown he’s an amazing writer, but he really gets the opportunity to put down the pen and stretch his acting legs. While looking like the doppleganger of Wallace, Segel manages to pick up on mannerisms so well that you begin to view Segel as Wallace more than Marshall from HOW I MET YOUR MOTHER or the heartbroken lover from FORGETTING SARAH MARSHALL
I must reiterate that THE END OF THE TOUR is not for everyone. I can see how easy it would be for someone to turn this movie off after their third or fourth yawn. It’s not that it’s on a higher level of entertainment or intelligence than the masses. But much like its centerpiece, Wallace, it really doesn’t care if you like it or not. That’s part of the charm that THE END OF THE TOUR has, it welcomes you in and hopes you enjoy yourself. If not, it understands if you want to exit early.
Video: (1080p Widescreen 2:39:1) Shot in snowy Minnesota, the movie captures the frigid weather and dead calm winter air of the land of lakes.
Audio: (English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1) It’s a dialogue driven movie and I really didn’t pick up on any of the music. THE END OF THE TOUR relies more on ambiance than music and everything comes through well on this blu-ray.
Audio Commentary with director James Ponsoldt, writer Donald Margulies and actor Jason Segel: It feels more like a turn-by-turn talking points commentary than it does a conversation about the making of the movie. There are still some interesting tidbits in this commentary, especially from Segel.
Behind the Tour (24:21): A lengthy, but enriching feature that shows us a very in-depth behind the scenes look at the filming of this movie. The candid interviews with the two main stars are very enlightening.
A Conversation with Composer Danny Elfman (8:24): A piece that talks with Danny Elfman. It’s interesting, but not entertaining.
Deleted Scenes (7:30): There are six deleted and extended scenes altogether. In a movie rich with dialogue, it’s hard to tell why these might have been removed. Greater minds and better filmmakers know why.