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.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.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.
After a brief introduction, the documentary begins to discuss Bourdain's initial upbringing and accession to culinary prominence, including the popular book "Kitchen Confidential." From there, attention is then paid to his frequent world travels, although much of the rest of the film is not really chronological. Bourdain spent a large chunk of his time traveling, and his understanding of the world and its rich cuisines are liminal parts of his worldview. This footage-juxtaposed with relevant interviews compiled by Neville in the wake of Bourdain's tragic death-is generally well-edited and impactful. The cinematography is generally very strong, and the film's pacing is quite brisk. Viewers are able to empathize with Bourdain as well as the extreme sense of loss and grief felt by those who were very close to him. As a result, the emotional connection with a deep understanding of Bourdain's romantic worldview and affinity for great cuisine and travels make the film generally worthwhile viewing for those with a high degree of interest in its subject. However, "Roadrunner" does have some notable flaws. The documentary sometimes suffers from a lack of cohesion between certain segments, and some portions almost feel a bit incomplete. Other snippets of the film don't directly relate to key details of Bourdain's personality or career, and thus feel that they could have been left on the cutting room floor. The other key concern with the film is the (unnecessarily) significant amount of emphasis on Bourdain's third girlfriend, who is portrayed in an extremely negative light, complete with sometimes-bleak-sounding music playing. Given the depth of Bourdain's mental anguish at this time and the difficulties anyone-even the most loving partner-would have had in helping someone that hurt, this seems improper and a bit outlandish. It also doesn't really change much of how the audience directly perceives of Bourdain himself by watching the documentary, who we understand as brilliant at his craft yet deeply and tragically troubled. Yet the stronger elements of this film promise to keep Bourdain's legacy alive, even in the face of the tragedy of his loss. 6.5/10.
- Jul 16, 2021