Movie Review: Roadrunner: A Film About Anthony Bourdain

On June 8, 2018 Anthony Bourdain, a famous chef, author and star of his own TV series took his own life in a Hotel room in Paris France, by hanging. The new documentary “Roadrunner” does an outstanding job showing how someone as successful and rich as Bourdain could go from such highs to lows low enough to take his own life.

One of the phenomenon’s of success at a young age, is that once it seems like you have it all and should be happy, and you’re not, where do you go from there? Bourdain was already a famous chef and best selling author at age 30, and as he became more famous this lead to his own TV show “Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown” where he traveled around the world from 2013-2018 sampling different restaurants. Unfortunately for Bourdain, a show like this meant that he was on the road, 250 days a year and hardly ever saw his wife and child. This show was filmed in some of the poorest and most depressing parts of the world including the Congo and even Vietnam. Over time, a life like this would take a huge toll on anyone – and just for a TV show? For Bourdain, was all of this ever worth it?

I wondered often during this film that if Bourdain’s show was all about food in the United States, then his life could have been so much easier, and much less depressing. However, Bourdain’s suicide is more complicated than any one explanation. As this 2 hour documentary unfolds, a relationship with actress Asia Argento – one of Harvey Weinstein’s many accusers seems like it could be a major cause of Bourdain’s suicide near the end of his life.

In my opinion, Bourdain’s suicide was ultimately caused by the huge lows of his depression, followed by a manic high when in love with Argento, followed by another extreme low, that he just could not recover from. It also could just come down to Bourdain himself, who was so fortunate in his career, never believing he was worthy of such extraordinary fame and wealth. The world will never know the real reasons why Bourdain took his own life, because he did not leave a note.

The amazing thing about this documentary is the amount of film that was produced during Bourdain’s life, so much of what happened flowed more like a movie than a documentary.

The Rotten Tomatoes ratings are a very high 95% for Roadrunner and I highly recommend this documentary.