For me, the 21st Athens International Film Festival (aka Nyxtes Premieras) began last night, on its 3rd day, with the film The End of the Tour.
The film is the adaptation of the book Although of Course You End Up Becoming Yourself by Rolling Stone journalist and author David Lipsky, narrating the five-day road trip with the author David Foster Wallace and stars Jason Segel as Wallace and Jesse Eisenberg as Lipsky.
Although the film balances between the two characters, Jason Segel steals the show, with an impressive performance, in his first (or at least one of his very few) dramatic role, gaining international critical acclaim! His portrayal of Wallace, the troubled novelist, is sincere, deep and at times heart breaking. In a quiet way, he manages to bring out the many layers of the novelist, without being over the top. His performance reminds me of the old days of Freaks and Geeks, the cult early 2000s show; fun fact: Becky Ann Baker, who starred at the show as Seger girlfriend’s mother, has a small cameo as a bookstore manager.
Jesse Eisenberg gave a great performance as well, but I felt that he fell to the usual Woody Allen routines, with the classic New York style dialogue style, without evolving his acting style a bit.
The supporting roles, were very well (and carefully) casted; Lipsky’s girlfriend is portrayed by Anna Chlumsky, the child actress from My Girl, who has made a fierce comeback with Emmy winning TV show Veep being her latest achievement, the talented Mammie Gummer (Meryl Streep’s daughter) who is on the rise with the upcoming film Ricki and the Flash (starring also dear mommy Meryl) and the hilarious Joan Cusack, who masters the role of the “escort” (inside joke – you need to watch the film to get it ;-) ).
Overall the film was good, with good performances and touching, human moments, great soundtrack, very well-written dialogues (although I think the credits should go to the book), but in the end it did not match my expectations. I felt that something was missing or that the climax could have been better.
It was a good start of the 21st AIFF for me and I hope that the next films that I will watch will match, or even better, top it.
Ever since I first set foot on a cinema theatre, I knew that something magical was happening there....