Roadrunner: A Film About Anthony Bourdain Review: The Man and The Myth

Roadrunner: A Film About Anthony Bourdain

For so many people, Anthony Bourdain was more than just a globe-trotting purveyor of culinary cuisines and cultures. Even beloved is a word that doesn’t come close to capturing what he meant to everyone’s lives. Morgan Neville’s (Won’t You Be My Neighbor?Roadrunner: A Film About Anthony Bourdain looks to celebrate the enigma through a mountain of material. As a whole, Roadrunner is a complex film about a complex individual. The documentary establishes itself with the typical talking heads of friends, family, and associates. Also, the documentary features other visual elements, such as contemporary and modern interviews and archival footage of his shows and media appearances. There’s a lot of material to go through, and Neville uses all of it to essentially have Bourdain narrate his own documentary. 

However, Roadrunner strictly focuses on the footage that is readily available for Neville to use. Instead of beginning in his early years, Roadrunner starts during his time as an up-and-coming chef in New York City. After all, why would there be footage of him as a line cook or footage of him using drugs? Some of these topics are slightly touched upon through the words of his friends and family. 

Roadrunner: A Film About Anthony Bourdain is an inspiring and poignant look at the complicated Anthony Bourdain.

Soon enough, the film’s topic changes to his time as a television presenter. Between A Cook’s Tour and Parts Unknown, Bourdain’s shows noticeably tackled many heavy subjects and weren’t afraid to ask the hard questions that most news outlets won’t. He also wasn’t pandering to his audiences either. Instead, he was educating them through an unfiltered lens of other cultures. 

The picture soon changes into an experience that evokes all kinds of emotions — ranging from concern to warmth to curiosity and everything in between. With a complicated figure like Bourdain, Neville portrays him as someone who was brutally honest and public about his feelings. As the film delves deep into Bourdain’s dark paths, Roadrunner examines why Anthony Bourdain killed himself. It’s a delicate subject, to be sure. However, Neville’s argument as to why he committed suicide is debatable (since Bourdain didn’t leave a suicide note). Nevertheless, Neville tries to put closure on the whole situation for any fan that needs it.

Overall, Roadrunner: A Film About Anthony Bourdain is an inspiring and poignant look at the complicated Anthony Bourdain. His intelligence, compassion, and love for human existence allowed him to create many iconic traveling programs. Yet what Roadrunner brings to light was his humanity, vulnerability, and sadly, his neverending feelings of loneliness. That being said, it’s also a film that celebrates his life and his impact on outsiders and troubled souls around the world.

Rating: 4/5 atoms

Roadrunner: A Film about Anthony Bourdain hits theaters on July 16th.

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Mark Pacis
Mark Pacis 1669 posts

Self-proclaimed "Human IMDb" and comic book geek. Biggest Iron Man fan you'll probably ever meet.

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