By Gregory Crofton
Director Morgan Neville (40 Feet from Stardom, Won’t You Be My Neighbor?) was on a mission with this film to help the world deal with the sudden death of chef, author and television star Anthony Bourdain at 61.
It’s one heck of a documentary. It plays like a “Parts Unknown” on the life of Bourdain, and that’s a good thing.
The two-hour film is packed with cool music (Jonathan Richman), many are tunes Bourdain likely would have approved of, while it methodically assembles his complex character. He was a romantic, always cynical and sometimes manic.
Questions many have about his last days are answered through candid testimony from close friends as well as his second wife and brother. Taken together it provides the context that millions of fans have been hungry for since his suicide in 2018.
One thing you learn about Bourdain, he had convictions and stuck to them. When he visited your house, he would check your kitchen knives and made sure they were sharp enough, even if you didn’t want him to.
He also loved movies including one called “Violent City.” It’s an Italian film starring Charles Bronson, Jill Ireland, and Telly Sevalas in which Bronson seeks revenge on a woman who betrayed him. According to a member of Bourdain’s television production team, the former chef and TV star posted a clip from “Violent City” on his Instagram account not long before he died. To her, it was an explanation, a motive, for his suicide.
You’ll have to watch this great documentary to figure out why Bourdain would post something from “Violent City. I made a point of viewing the film after seeing Neville’s doc. It’s a cool movie, one full of extremes just like Bourdain.
“Roadrunner: A Film about Anthony Bourdain” is playing at theaters across the country. It opened Friday July 17th. Watch the trailer below.