Roadrunner is a brilliant, sometimes troubling documentary about a brilliant, sometimes troubling man.
By Dana Stevens, July 13, 202111:03 AM
Within seconds of the opening of Roadrunner, a new documentary from the Oscar-winning filmmaker Morgan Neville (20 Feet from Stardom,Won’t You Be My Neighbor?), the writer, chef, and TV personality Anthony Bourdain is already talking about death.
Sitting at a table with an unseen companion, he says that he has no investment in what happens to his remains after he is gone, except insofar as it might provide “entertainment value” for his body to be, say, fed into a woodchipper and sprayed around the London department store Harrods at rush hour.
Given that Bourdain died by suicide in 2018 during the filming of an episode of his CNN show Parts Unknown in Alsace, France, this mordant joke takes on extra-gruesome meaning—and as a montage later on in the movie shows, it was far from the only time he cracked wise on camera about his own death.
In its mix of playful irreverence and punk-rock attitude, the put-me-in-a-woodchipper-at-Harrods line is pure Bourdain, an example of the way he could charm, seduce, shock, and amuse all at the same time.