David Foster Wallace was an extraordinarily talented writer whose life was cut short by his own hand at the age of 46.

One of the crucial moments in his life came when he was interviewed by writer David Lipsky for Rolling Stone, an equally important moment for the younger interviewer's life.

That interview is at the center of James Ponsoldt's latest film "The End of the Tour," a conversation piece that traverses a wide range of topics while allowing the viewer a chance encounter with both men's inner workings.

The film introduces us to an older Lipsky (Jesse Eisenberg) as he learns of the death of Wallace (Jason Segel). Immediately thereafter, the film flashes back to Lipsky's initial assignment and then cuts right to the chase with the two men meeting ahead of a book tour for Wallace's famous "Infinite Jest."

For over 90 minutes, the film simply depicts the men getting to know one another. As Lipsky probes for his story, the film remains unpredictable, causing the audience to constantly reassess where the meeting could lead.

While Lipsky investigates his subject, Wallace subtly does the same to his interviewer. This creates fascinating moments where slight actions allow the viewer to understand the underlying dynamic between the two men, especially hints that they want to switch places. Ponsoldt introduces Lipsky coming off a recent book publication, but the younger author is far from Wallace's success. Both get scenes in which they greet fans at a book store; Wallace's is far more crowded and the fan base is far more interested. Ponsoldt even plays with the idea that both men are jealous of the others' "attempts" on their "girlfriends." Lipsky gets angry with his girlfriend for spending 30 minutes on the phone with Wallace, even though the viewer never actually sees the interaction and cannot infer any negative intentions, while Wallace gives Lipsky a fit over his constant interaction with his ex-girlfriend Betsy.

All the while, Ponsoldt has fun with the audience by raising expectations that he never seems intent on fulfilling. It all seems to hint at one major question, encompassed by Lipsky's goals and the film's many conversations: What do we really know about each other and even ourselves? This question fuels the character interactions, as well as the audience's involvement in the film. It is a question that seems constant and yet often goes unanswered.

As Lipsky and Wallace get to know one another, this question seems to gain an answer: We are more similar than one might imagine. The characters' identical names serve as a major clue to this realization, but other interactions, their mutual "potential interests in women," and their ability to foresee conversation all indicate the characters' similarities, despite their intent to find differences in one another.

Eisenberg has made a career out of playing an awkward introvert and he does his best iteration of that character as Lipsky, coming off as insecure yet occasionally sneaky. There is always a sense that he might look for a way to one-up Wallace despite his wide-eyed love for the author.

However, Segel is the real star, making Wallace just as introverted as Eisenberg, but far more frail and timid. He remains a mystery throughout, rarely revealing much about his emotions and forcing the audience to pry much like Lipsky. Segel's performance is fascinating for his ability to hint at depth, while always remaining distanced.

There is no major conflict in this film outside of these two strangers engaging in chess-like conversations. Attempts to introduce external conflicts (Lipsky searching for a heroin angle) seem forced, as if Ponsoldt felt the audience might require such subplots to engage more fully. Alcoholism, a common theme in other Ponsoldt films "The Spectacular Now" and "Smashed," also comes into play in a far subtler manner.

The dialogues of "The End of the Tour" are lengthy and often complex, which might present an issue for impatient audience members. This intricate character study may require multiple views to unpeel the layers beneath its relaxed exterior.