Roadrunner tells the life story of renowned chef Anthony Bourdain in a unique, sometimes brutally honest, behind-the-scenes look at his life and travels. Constructed largely of clips from his show Parts Unknown, the documentary follows Bourdain as he circles the world in search of new cuisine.
The film is rough and unvarnished, much of it being outtake footage that was shot by Bourdain’s film crew as they followed him around the world. The clips show how his TV persona progressed, from the early days when the original husband/wife team of Christopher Collins and Lydia Tenaglia proposed the show concept to him, to the full-blown crew that worked for him towards the end of his travels.
Interspersed throughout the film are quick flashbacks to his childhood and youth, so the viewer gets a sense of how he grew up, and what his early influences were. As Bourdain’s travel unfolds, the commentary in the film also includes his relationships with several close friends and their thoughts and interactions with him over the years. Married twice, each of his wives also participate in the film, and several of the people close to him offer their perspective as to what drove Bourdain to both success and his ultimate suicide.
Overall Roadrunner is a very interesting character study, although I found it a little long at two hours, and viewers should be aware there is lots of profanity. Also included are a few brief scenes where animals are killed before they are prepared, which may disturb some people, although this was part of the nature of his show, to explore how other cultures lived and ate. Worth seeing if you were a fan.
– Sue, Library Assistant