Review: Roadrunner: A Film About Anthony Bourdain


An intimate look into the life of the late popular chef and host Anthony Bourdain, Roadrunner: A Film About Anthony Bourdain pulls back the curtain and dives deep into the drive, successes, insecurities, and troubles of a man continuously in search of purpose.

From American chef behind the line to acclaimed author, followed by becoming a cultural television personality on a number of shows that took audiences deep into worldwide cultures via cuisine, Roadrunner: A Film About Anthony Bourdain Anthony Bourdain offers an unfettered look into the man who sadly took his life just over three years ago. Filmmaker Morgan Neville uses a combination of behind-the-scenes footage from previous journeys for Bourdain’s shows and first-hand interviews to paint a picture of a troubled man who never quite found his place, nor personal peace. Narrated greatly by Bourdain, and eerily so in many respects, this is an emotionally raw documentary focusing on a subject who isn’t always what he seems. Though Bourdain brought diverse cultures into living rooms everywhere and became an absolute sensation on every street corner in America, success was but a disguise from his ongoing struggles. 

Most impressive with Roadrunner: A Film About Anthony Bourdain is the growth and realization of the man himself as he learned from the experiences he was having on his multiple award-winning shows. The film showcases this metamorphosis before it all comes to a head prior to his untimely death. If there is one criticism of the film, it’s in the way that Bourdain is portrayed in the final act, the story not handled gingerly as his mental health clearly is running rampant. The man that you grow to love during the course of the film turns villain in an instant. Though he was not the easiest to work with throughout his career, as many attested to, and the final days were the most challenging, Roadrunner: A Film About Anthony Bourdain could have done more to dive into the mental health impacts of what was being displayed.

In the end, however, Roadrunner: A Film About Anthony Bourdain is a good watch because it shows not only the strange reality of stardom, but the emotional layers of a man that we all can emphasize with.

Roadrunner: A Film About Anthony Bourdain hits theaters Friday.

Rating: 4/5

Photo from Refinery 29

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