“A documentary about Anthony Bourdain and his career as a chef, writer, and host, revered and renowned for his authentic approach to food, culture, and travel.” -IMDB
The difficulty in watching a movie like Roadrunner, and I would assume in making it as well, is that you tread a fine line between a fascination of the subject’s life and glorification of their untimely death. Let me clarify…
Too often, biographical documentaries tend to cast their subject’s in a heroic frame, despite an early death clearly indicating that the subject was all too human. Roadrunner, which focuses on chef and television host Anthony Bourdain, who committed suicide in 2018 after a lifelong battle with depression and addiction, does an excellent job of telling the full story. Or at least the full story as far as the audience deserves to know.
Roadrunner does an excellent job of discussing Bourdain’s numerous achievements, passions, and causes, including how he helped shape his show as a vehicle for cultural interaction and discussion. However, it does not sanitize his image. Family, friends, and colleagues all admit to Bourdain’s faults. They are also incredibly honest with how much his death has hurt them and how angry many of them still are.
I think both fans and those unfamiliar with his work will enjoy this film, as it does not focus solely on the end of Bourdain’s life but on his early days as a chef, his rise to fame through his writing, and his time traveling for Parts Unknown. There were times during the movie when I was nervous that the filmmakers may be sliding into the territory of glorification, but by the end, I felt that it was a fair, balanced, and loving portrayal of a real man with real struggles, who made a real impact in the world before he left it.
Rating: 7 out of 10 Claire Bears
If you like this movie, you should also watch: Val, Wework, The Donut King
Streaming: Available to rent on Amazon Prime
Directed By: Morgan Neville