The film Roadrunner is a biopic of Anthony Bourdain, the celebrity chef and television personality who committed suicide in June 2018. In the film, he is portrayed by actor Tony Shalhoub. It was released on Netflix on September 27th of this year.
The roadrunner: a film about anthony bourdain where to watch is a documentary that explores the life and career of Anthony Bourdain. It premiered on CNN in late June 2018, and was released theatrically in December 2018.
Morgan Neville is heard chatting quietly behind the camera early in his fascinating and disturbing documentary feature “Roadrunner: A Film About Anthony Bourdain,” which is now showing in cinemas. In an allusion to the tabloid controversy that emerged soon before Bourdain’s death, he tells an uncomfortable interview subject, “I want to create a film about why he was who he was.”
The whys of that existence include why the cook-turned-chef-turned-writer-turned-media-star shone so brightly, was so eager for adventure, and was adored by so many who met him and read his zestful words and followed his lavish exploits. Of course, they’re overshadowed by the reason why he, of all irrepressible spirits, hanged himself in his hotel room in France three years ago at the age of 61. Because it is unable to solve the riddle, the film briefly mentions the controversy without suggesting it as a solution. Nonetheless, Mr. Neville, who won an Academy Award for his documentary “Twenty Feet From Stardom” in 2013, provides us with a vivid, fully gratifying impression of the guy Bourdain was as well as the one he appeared to be.
It was not uncommon for the two to occur at the same time. Bourdain is the same boisterous, hilarious, seductive, eloquent, supersmart, self-ironic, and enormously charming dynamo of energy in video excerpts from the late 1990s, when he was an executive chef at Brasserie Les Halles in New York, as he was for most of his life. After the newly famous author of “Kitchen Confidential” takes the road for a TV food and travel program whose many incarnations would span—and very much consume—16 years of his life, the person and the character begin to separate in Mr. Neville’s documentary portrayal. Bourdain, a natural storyteller, is enamored with the new medium and adapts fast, albeit at a cost to himself and others. While the most moving interviews in the film are with his friends and second wife, Ottavia Busia-Bourdain, the most illuminating are with the producers, directors, and crew who worked with him for years and miles, seeing him grow and evolve.
Some of the changes are predictable, the result of an exciting but grueling process described by Bourdain as “airport to airport, city to city—I’m beginning to feel like a modern-day Willy Loman.” Rather than starring in his own version of “Death of a Salesman,” the roving host thrives on scarfing exotic foods—one of his producers describes his eating of a live, beating cobra heart as “a little salacious”—engaging effortlessly with fascinating people, and immersing himself, albeit briefly, in cultures that were as foreign to him as they were to his viewers. That’s unexpected. According to the film, the globe traveler had never traveled until the start of his debut series, “A Cook’s Tour.” What he knew about other countries came mainly from movies and literature, whetting his desire for the actual thing.
Focus Features (photo)
It’s unsurprising that hunger would play a major role in a film about a chef who travels the globe eating, smoking, drinking, and charming people. But there are appetites for food and appetites for experience, and it is Mr. Neville’s subject’s unquenchable desire for extreme experience that transforms his picture from fascinating to worrisome to sad and terrifying. It’s not only the rigors of the road, the 250 days of travel each year, that have wreaked havoc on Bourdain’s two marriages and his cherished family life. “People forget Anthony Bourdain was an addict,” says David Choe, an artist and self-described junkie who was a friend of Bourdain’s. “It took a leap. The addiction took a leap.” Those five frightening lines go a long way toward explaining the film’s last act.
Always on the lookout for new experiences, Bourdain becomes hooked to putting on shows that are difficult, if not impossible, to carry off. When the camera isn’t on him, he’s relentless in his pursuit of intensity, while his relationship with his production team becomes increasingly strained. His TV colleagues and collaborators describe him as constantly trying to be a better and more compassionate person, but frequently difficult, impatient, angry, and willful when the camera isn’t on him. He takes his program to the Democratic Republic of Congo, where he views the Congo River, which has a literary connection to one of his favorite movies, “Apocalypse Now.” It’s tempting to believe he’s going up river in quest of himself, or to face his own dark heart. It’s clear that this famous chef and gleeful eater is being eaten alive by work that’s becoming increasingly punishing and decreasingly pleasurable through it all—the incessant travel, the repetitive setups, the endless encounters with people who want a piece of his celebrity—that this famous chef and gleeful eater is being eaten alive by work that’s becoming increasingly punishing and decreasingly pleasurable.
Mr. Neville’s film has been panned for what some perceive as a sexist and reductionist suggestion that Bourdain’s death was caused by his failed relationship with Asia Argento, an Italian actress and director. Ms. Argento plays an important role in the film’s conclusion, as she did in the life of its subject. She is, however, a latecomer in a film that recalls and makes sense of Anthony Bourdain’s talents, charms, subsequent professions, enduring interests, and befuddling obsessions. It’s a riveting story of an extraordinary life, with the right amount of intensity and complexity.
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Roadrunner: A Film About Anthony Bourdain is a documentary about the life of Anthony Bourdain. The film was released on Netflix in October 2017 and has been highly praised by critics. Reference: anthony bourdain documentary streaming.
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