|Left to right: Jesse Eisenberg and Jason Segel|
Among the current directors that are out there making movies, I find director James Ponsoldt to be one of the more interesting. Starting with his excellent debut Smashed, he created complicated characters without much of a budget or spectacle and elevated the form to something far more interesting with a story about a recovering alcoholic. His follow-up was the even better The Spectacular Now, which may have been the young adult equivalent of Smashed, but found him coming into his own form with a heartfelt love story. With his latest, he ditches alcoholism, at least directly, and chooses to focus on the life of writer David Foster Wallace with Jesse Eisenberg and Jason Segel in tow. How does the first trailer stack up?
I will confess that while I am a fan of his work, I also feel that his strongest suit is in the performances. Where most films are full of editing, his work lingers on the awkward moments, capturing the moments that are rarely seen. It draws more endearment from the results. I feel that while he may still be too much of an indie director to get Oscar nominations, I do think that it would be a shame if his work was ignored entirely. With The End of the Tour, he tackles something a little more complicated with a Rolling Stone journalist (Eisenberg) interviewing Wallace (Segel) over a few days. The film received decent acclaim out of Sundance this year and remains one of my most anticipated for the year.
I am not writing this piece to start buzz around the film, but simply to bring it to your attention. As a fan of Ponsoldt, I feel the need to support him by at least sharing information about him. It is too early to speculate Oscar prospects, but we can at least check out the trailer and see what we have in store.
Check it out below:
Looks pretty good. For those who need more, here is the plot summary from IMDb:
A magazine reporter recounts his travels and conversations with author David Foster Wallace during a promotional book tour.
If there is one initial complaint, it is that Jason Segel looks to be playing a variation of himself. Again, I don't know Wallace and therefore cannot comment too well on if this is an accurate depiction. However, I do feel that the film as a whole looks promising in its depiction of exploring an artist's work. Over the past few years, Jesse Eisenberg has really stepped up his game and has made an interesting career, specifically with last year's The Double. I do think that together, it could be an interesting film with two stellar performances. I don't know that it will be the breakthrough film for Ponsoldt, but I do hold out optimism for what's to come.
Will this be James Ponsoldt's breakout film? Will it live up to the already impressive work of his previous two films? Will the cast turn in great performances?