Movie Review: “Roadrunner” is a skilled but uneven look at the blessed and cursed life of Anthony Bourdain

Note: Because of the tragic circumstances behind the death of Anthony Bourdain this review won’t include a grade.

One of the most remarkable life stories and impactful celebrity deaths of the modern era is the subject of “Roadrunner: A Film About Anthony Bourdain”, and while the documentary is made about as strong as you can make it, we’re still left looking for the same answers as we walked out of the theater as we were walking into it.

That is why this unique and beloved individual, living a the “perfect” life in the minds of so many of us, chose to end that life early.

Director Morgan Neville makes good use of all of the gorgeous archive footage available here and navigates the timeline and career phases of Bourdain’s life very well. It’s a gorgeous doc. And it warms us during the good times. And it doesn’t flinch during the hard times.

Which is why in it’s final act, when it’s time to discuss the death of Bourdain, the structure seems to fall apart. There is some finger pointing. The interviews turn more inward to the people on camera being interviewed. And the last ten minutes is almost a spring to try to make the viewer think less as the film ends instead of a more natural stop.

You should still see it though. Especially, if you’re fan of Anthony Bourdain.

In the end though “Roadrunner” won’t help answer any questions over why this remarkable life ended too early.

Maybe it’s not supposed to. And maybe that’s the way Anthony Bourdain wanted it.

Roadrunner: A Film About Anthony Bourdain

GRADE: Recommend but not graded.

Running time: 1 hour 59 minutes

Rated: R

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