When fans heard of Anthony Bourdain’s death, there was collective mourning. He wasn’t just a typical show host, instead, he was someone fans could relate to. He opened up the world and food to so many viewers who never had an interest in leaving their area or bubble before. His frank analysis of the world is what made him attractive to so many fans, and his show connected him with the audience and the world.
So when we heard they were making a film about his life, career and unfortunate end – we were a bit hestitant at first. We know how the story ends, would the documentary open up more wounds for fans who still miss the booming voice telling us about parts of the world we only wished we could experience? Or would it be just what fans need and a tribute to his life?
Roadrunner: A Film about Anthony Bourdain is just that, a documntary that gives you a better understanding of the author, traveler, father, and chef we all knew and loved from his shows and books. With quick looks into his childhood, the documentary mostly focuses on his adult life and career from when he went from a line cook to publishing the book that launched him into the public eye. It shows the problems he struggled with from a young age and what he battled with throughout the rest of his life.
One shocking thing through the whole movie was the amount of video and film footage that they had of Anthony Bourdain. Yes, he traveled over 250 days a year, and was a show host. But the videos start to include personal moments from when he was still a cook, from before his book was published and when he’s meeting with friends at the bar. Videos of his personal life with his wife and daughter and much more. The documentary goes into more than fans saw or even knew about thanks to a possibly over documented life.
Roadrunner does focus on the life, struggles and career of Anthony Bourdain, and features interviews with the people who knew him best. But one thing it does as well is it uses that footage to tell his story, and often in his own words. The documentary opens with him talking about his eventual death and how he wants it to be handled. For fans, the opening and the last quarter of the film may be the hardest to watch, but he tells the story in his own words.
It is a beautiful tribute to a life that impacted so many people – even if he didn’t see it at the time. His booming voice will be there to tell the story, and it seems like a longer episode of Parts Unknown, when really Anthony Bourdain was the unknown to so many of his fans. And even if there is never a way to bring him back, this is a film that fans will want to see and remember him as they did as well as the man we never knew.
ROADRUNNER: A FILM ABOUT ANTHONY BOURDAIN:
A documentary about the uncommon life of the late storyteller, explorer, and chef, Anthony Bourdain. The film will have its world premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival on Friday, June 11, 2021. The documentary is directed by Academy Award® winner Morgan Neville (20 Feet from Stardom, Won’t You Be My Neighbor?). Focus Features will first release the documentary exclusively in theaters on Friday, July 16, 2021 before the film premieres on television on CNN and streams via HBO Max. CNN Films and HBO Max executive produced the film. Neville and Caitrin Rogers are producers of the film under Neville’s Tremolo Productions.