What Doesn’t Kill You (2008)
My Rating : 5/5 STARS
MovieStudio Quote >> “Inspiring, and Ruffalo’s done a never-before-seen role, Superb!”
For his assured directorial debut, character actor Brian Goodman reaches into his troubled past. WHAT DOESN’T KILL YOU tells the tale of two best friends who grew up in South Boston and fell into a life of petty crime. Brian (Mark Ruffalo) has a beautiful wife (Amanda Peet) and two children, but his addiction to drugs and alcohol keeps him from becoming the father he should be. Paulie (Ethan Hawke) is determined to make a big score so that they can stop scraping by and retire in style. But when a local police officer (co-writer Donnie Wahlberg) finally catches them in the act, they are forced to serve time in jail.
Upon returning home, Brian must confront the painful truth that crime is the only life that he knows. Yet, as difficult as it seems, he struggles to clean up his act once and for all, in order to make sure that he never has to leave his family behind again. WHAT DOESN’T KILL YOU is an old-school crime drama, directed with a knowing confidence by Goodman, who himself grew up on the streets of Southie and spent time in prison. Ruffalo and Hawke step into their roles with convincing gusto. In the process, they reaffirm their status as two of their generation’s finest actors. What ultimately elevates the film’s impact is the realization that this isn’t just another thriller; it’s the heartfelt story of a man who wants to make a better life for himself and his family.