Roadrunner: A Film About Anthony Bourdain 2021

Directed by Morgan Neville Portraits

The life of celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain was about so much more than just food, as affectionate documentary Roadrunner illustrates in interviews with those whose lives were touched by the curious, convivial rover.

USA In English
118 minutes
M
offensive language & deals with suicide

Director

With

Anthony Bourdain
,
Ottavia Busia
,
Eric Ripert
,
Christopher Collins
,
Lydia Tenaglia
,
David Chang
,
Tommy Vitale
,
John Lurie

Producers

Morgan Neville
,
Caitrin Rogers

Cinematography

Adam Beckman

Editors

Eileen Meyer
,
Aaron Wickenden

Music

Michael Andrews
,
Noveller
,
John Lurie
,
Queens of the Stone Age

Festivals

Tribeca 2021

Elsewhere

Presented in association with

Canvas

To fans, Anthony Bourdain was a figure of relentless inquisitiveness, deeply committed to experiencing all this world had to offer. He seemed such a positive force in the mediascape that many were left completely blindsided by his suicide in 2018. Roadrunner has little to say in resolving Bourdain’s tragic end, concerned instead with celebrating the way he lived – honest, adventurous and engaged.

Filmmaker Morgan Neville (Won't you Be My Neighbor?, Best of Enemies NZIFF 2015) concentrates this latest documentary on the period of Bourdain’s life most familiar to the public, charting his rise to television stardom. When Bourdain’s enjoyable tell-all about the inner workings of fancy restaurants, Kitchen Confidential, makes him an overnight success, he corrals newfound star power to become a travelling television personality with shows like A Cook’s Tour and Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown.

 At times the film does paint Bourdain as a frustratingly self-defeating character, but it isn’t as interested in ‘figuring out’ the charismatic celebrity as it is exemplifying the sort of frank and spontaneous tribute Bourdain himself might have created.

There is no shortage of interesting people who have come into Bourdain’s orbit, but the film wisely eschews star power to prioritise interviewees with real intimacy and insight. Roadrunner is a suitably colourful and energetic tribute to a life thoroughly lived. —Adrian Hatwell