The End of the Tour, now running at the Esquire, is a gripping film. Which is hard to imagine, since it’s a movie made about a Rolling Stone interview years ago. But this is David Foster Wallace being interviewed, during the final days of his book tour for his monumental Infinite Jest, and conducted by David Lipsky, then just beginning and now renowned for his fiction and non-fiction.
So this is two 20-something – late 20s – ‘upper middle class, over educated, privileged white guys in America’, to quote themselves in the movie’, traveling together for about a week in Michigan and Minnesota, as DFW wraps up his book tour. But these are non-stop thinkers, observers, discerners, keenly noting themselves and others, their environment, nature, energy, their physical reactions. David Foster Wallace is a physically big guy, depressed and thinking. David Lipsky is a smaller guy, with better hair, pretty literally a ball of energy.
They are always inward, while outwardly communicating non-stop. Definitely in male ways. They both understand emotions, and can talk about them when it is other folks. When emotion is suddenly on their own plates, they hit a wall. You can almost hear the conversation they would have if they could. But far thinking as they are, getting over those bridges is too hard. So they each take some time out, and then come back together, through genuine liking and trust, and move forward together. Not ever having resolved the problem, or apologized for the – yes, mean – statements they had made to each other.
DFW’s dogs are a fun part of the film, and his cleaning the snow and ice off David Lipsky’s rental car as he is leaving is nearly poetry.
Well made, gripping, powerful, beautiful. Would that David Foster Wallace was still with us, and that he and the other David were still friends.