Alice Oscura, Featured Writer
Synopsis: Anthony Bourdain was an American celebrity chef, author, and travel documentarian. In June 8, 2018 he died by suicide. He was 61. Roadrunner: A Film About Anthony Bourdain is a documentary feature about his life and career.
Review: Bourdain’s life may have seemed like one gigantic rollercoaster of adventure, but director/producer Morgan Neville reveals the insecure person beneath the façade and the part of Bourdain that was afraid of failure and disappointment.
The New York chef’s success became elevated upon the publication of his controversial bestseller Kitchen Confidential in 2000. Bourdain’s cynical narration would lead him into a new life as a travel show host. He transformed from a New Yorker who never travelled to one of the most travelled people on the planet in just a few years. This was where Tony’s perspective on life began to change as his eyes opened up to see the world in its rawest form. A world that wasn’t always pretty, and Bourdain did his best not to shield his audience from the ugly side of life.
The extra video footage from behind the scenes of the travel shows, home movies, and exclusive, candid interviews with Bourdain’s close friends, co-workers, and relatives helped to paint the whole picture of this beloved chef turned travel show host. Tony, as he is affectionately called, was a diehard romantic at heart that believed in the stability of rock-solid love that would last for ages. However, he was also an introvert that suffered from many insecurities.
As time passed by, the host of “ No Reservations” and “Parts Unknown” underwent another transformation. Bourdain became more self-reflective and quieted down in his later years. It was well-known that he held a special place in his heart for Vietnam and its people. His travel shows became less and less about food and more about showing the raw reality of varied cultures. Sometimes Bourdain would make sure to emphasise the damaging effects of war and poverty.
Unfortunately, as he became an international ambassador and spent more time away from home, two of his marriages disintegrated. His second ex-wife Ottavia Busia, with whom he shared a daughter, explained how they were separated in every sense of the word but had lived under the same roof for years. Through a cracked voice and fighting back tears she expressed her regret for not paying closer attention to him.
One topic that’s a bit controversial was the way that Italian actress and Bourdain’s girlfriend Asia Argento was portrayed somewhat as the villain of the story. There are always two sides to a story. Like the fact that in the final years leading up to Bourdain’s death, Tony was a manic depressive and blamed himself for his failed marriages/relationships. He seemed hell-bent on a path of destruction when he hired Argento to direct a Parts Unknown episode in Hong Kong. It rubbed many of the long-time crew the wrong way as a process that took so many years to perfect got upturned by an outsider. Bourdain’s addictive personality had turned its attention to Asia Argento.
Five days before Bourdain’s suicide, the tabloids revealed that Argento was cheating on him. Was this what finally tipped Bourdain over the edge? I suppose no one will ever know the truth behind his impulsive decision to end his life. It became clear from the candid interviews with his close friends that Tony left behind some disappointed and broken hearts from his detrimental choice.
While some of us may have passed judgment on Bourdain’s suicide, we would never begin to understand how he felt in those last moments. But, at the end of the day, suicide is not the answer, for our lives are not ours to take.
In a nutshell, Roadrunner is a fitting and emotional tribute to a man who achieved the heights of success and touched the lives of so many people around the world. Yet, in the end, he still felt very much alone.
Alice’s Score: 8.5 out of 10
Editor’s Note: If you or someone you know are having thoughts of suicide please call a hotline in your country and talk to someone. You can find hotlines for various countries by clicking here.
And you can find more biographical content below:
Dark Alice has an old soul and a curious mind. I believe that anyone can be a hero and that the good guys should always win! I dislike cruelty to animals and think that they have far superior qualities to humans. My motto is there is no future without the past. I also have a weird penchant for Paranormal TV shows even though the slightest sound makes me jump. I enjoy writing reviews and throwing in fun facts to pique the readers’ curiosity. My ultimate goal in life would be to become a published writer one day. Read More