“Cue the waterworks,” said one fan. “I wasn’t ready. Even for just a trailer,” said another.
The emotional first sneak peek on the Anthony Bourdain documentary “Roadrunner” just dropped today and a collective gasp from unprepared devotees was heard from different parts of the world. “This is going to hit hard,” went a Tweet. “My heart,” went another.
To fans of the legendary chef, bestselling book author, documentarian and culinary rock star, it’s as if being reminded their guru is no longer with us—this man who influenced how they traveled, experienced food, lived their lives, through his books and episodes of his shows—still comes as a shock two years after his passing. And now here’s this documentary, purportedly a reexamination of his life and work, threatening to be, yes, comforting (We get to see him again!) but at the same time heartbreaking (What wounds will it reopen? What secrets will it reveal?).
But as Bourdain himself says at the beginning of the trailer, “You’re probably gonna find out about it anyway so here’s a little preemptive truth-telling.”
The film is directed by Morgan Neville, the Academy Award-winning director (“20 Feet from Stardom” and the Mister Rogers doc “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?”), who said in a statement that he tried to tell his subject’s story by being faithful to the voice Bourdain impacted the world with. “Anthony Bourdain did more to help us understand each other than just about anyone in the history of television,” Neville told Indiewire, “He connected with people not in spite of his flaws, but because of them.”
The documentary traces Bourdain’s career, beginning with the publication of his controversial book “Kitchen Confidential,” leading up to his leap to television where it seemed the world just opened up to reveal to him its little parts unknown, starting with his maiden travel show “A Cook’s Tour.” According to Rolling Stone, “Roadrunner” will also touch on his suicide.
The trailer ends with Bourdain’s famous quote about traveling, but in this case it can also sound like a foreword to his fans about the life being examined in the film: “Travel isn't always pretty. It isn't always comfortable. Sometimes it hurts, it even breaks your heart. But that's OK. The journey changes you; it should change you.”
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