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What Doesn't Kill You
What Doesn't Kill You
Actors: Ethan Hawke, Mark Ruffalo, Brian Goodman, Amanda Peet, Will Lyman
Director: Brian Goodman
Genres: Drama, Mystery & Suspense
R     2009     1hr 40min

Brian (Mark Ruffalo) and Paulie (Academy AwardŽ nominee Ethan Hawke, Best Actor In a Supporting Role for Training Day, 2001) are two lifelong friends who grew up like brothers on the gritty streets of south Boston. They st...  more »

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Movie Details

Actors: Ethan Hawke, Mark Ruffalo, Brian Goodman, Amanda Peet, Will Lyman
Director: Brian Goodman
Creators: Brian Goodman, Donnie Wahlberg, Bob Yari, Marc Frydman, Peter R. McIntosh, Rod Lurie, Paul T. Murray
Genres: Drama, Mystery & Suspense
Sub-Genres: Drama, Mystery & Suspense
Studio: Sony Pictures
Format: DVD - Color,Widescreen - Subtitled
DVD Release Date: 04/28/2009
Original Release Date: 01/01/2008
Theatrical Release Date: 01/01/2008
Release Year: 2009
Run Time: 1hr 40min
Screens: Color,Widescreen
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 7
Members Wishing: 0
MPAA Rating: R (Restricted)
Languages: English
Subtitles: English
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Member Movie Reviews

Reviewed on 3/9/2016...
A bit gritty at times but had a good ending.
Michel D. (michelann) from WALNUT GROVE, MO
Reviewed on 10/30/2015...
Better than average crime drama! Script influenced by Donnie Wahlberg is what drew my interest (and wow is it good). Amanda Peet is always reliable as is Mark Ruffalo and Ethan Hawke! Backup cast is top notch and the story line of trying to make good and being pulled back down to the sewer that some of south side Boston wallows in proves that crime never pays but when there are few options.... well you get the idea.
1 of 1 member(s) found this review helpful.

Movie Reviews

Great true story about responsibility and choices
Andre Heeger | Germany | 05/14/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Where do I begin? Acting - top class. Cinematography - terrific. Story - what can be better than real life stories?
"This is me, this is what I do." Brian (Mark Ruffalo) to his wife - played by Amanda Peet.
He is a Boston criminal. He doesn't know any better and neither does his friend Paulie (Ethan Hawke). Both have been doing jobs for their boss since they were kids.
Things go quite well at first. Brian makes a living. Nothing special but he and his family are doing all right. Then drugs get in the way and he loses control. A job goes wrong and both Brian and Paulie end up in jail.
There Brian finally realizes what he was throwing away all this time. A loving wife who still holds on to him, two great kids, love.
To me the best moment in the film is a scene after Brian is back home from prison and he talks to his eldest son on the porch. He knows he can't let them down again. If he does he will lose everything he ever had.
So he makes a choice, takes the last chance he's got. To be there for those who love him and not to deceive them again. He is strong and together they will make it.
As I said before, great acting by the entire cast, Mark, Ethan, Amanda, but also the kids, the crime boss (Brian Goodman - also first time director).
I loved Mark in Zodiac, Amanda in Syriana and Ethan in Training Day but here they are even better.
Most of the story takes place during the winter and although it's often sunny they toned down the colors adding a little to the weight of the drama.
The Blu-ray is marvelous. Crisp when needed (not overdone thank God) with the winter sun, yet at the same time tolerating a certain softness which adds to the intimacy and warmth.
Get it."
And yet another kids to criminals to wake up call movie
Grady Harp | Los Angeles, CA United States | 05/08/2009
(3 out of 5 stars)

"This film is yet another rehash of that glut of films about kids who begin lives of crime early on, go to jail, and come out either enlightened or unchanged. Set in South Boston, WHAT DOESN'T KILL YOU happens to star some fine actors in Mark Ruffalo, Ethan Hawke, and Amanda Peet, and their presence makes the film watchable. It is just tiresome to watch repeats an this 'bad kid' (Ruffalo) turned junkie turned convict turned negligent husband and father turned AA whose ability to make decent decisions finds him clueless until the end of the film.

The flavor of South Boston and prison and petty crimes becoming major crimes is well paced by writer/director/actor Brian Goodman. But this rambling story is ultimately boring - except for the pleasure of watching Mark Ruffalo inhabit this loser of a character. An OK movie, not a great one. Grady Harp, May 09"
Environmental influences breeding sociopathy...a true story.
J. K. Hinton | TX USA | 05/02/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)

"Mark Ruffalo (Brian) and Ethan Hawke (Paulie) are childhood friends, growing up on the mean-streets of South Boston. Early on, they are overtaken by the path of least resistance toward easy money, through the negative environmental influences surrounding them. They eventually become runners, and, the heavy-hand, for organized crime boss Pat Kelly (Brian Goodman). Sadly, given their surroundings, it became their destiny---'the apple does not fall far from the tree.'

As the viewer you are able to observe these boys evolve from small time crime, to full-blown, risk-taking, men, with little remorse for social misconduct and an aversion toward authority figures. Interestingly, Antisocial Personality Disorders only need to have 3, or more, of 7 traits, and these characters portrayed them all---to perfection. You begin to see neither of them as having any socially redeeming value. Could redemption be possible with such a prognosis?

This film is brilliantly acted, and a textbook portrayal of budding sociopathy and the destruction it creates. If you have interest in dysfunctional personality dynamics, you will really enjoy it. However, some may not, because this is not a high-action film, or one of those bloody, chop-off-fingers types, with nausea inducing, gratuitous violence. Yes, there are some violent scenes, but this film is more of a character study of Brian and Paulie. One examining consequences of choices, and whether or not redemption can be found---if it's even sought, when there is a rusty moral compass.

Mark Ruffalo is outstanding in this role. The hospital scene, alone, when he is demanding more 'pain medication,' and his subsequent behaviors afterward are textbook, drug-seeking, antisocial. I can vouch for this, first hand, as I have been on the receiving end of such tirades, as a health care professional.

Although left with a message of hope for one of the primary characters, the problem I had with this film, was the inability to have much empathy for any of them. Even for Ruffalo's wife, who functioned as an enabler; a wounded personality, herself. But, I don't think we were meant to have empathy---perhaps just a better understanding of how some criminals and addicts amongst us are created, with a little window into their mind.

Brian and Paulie's story did touch a nerve for me, that we need more intervention, better schools and community outreach in neighborhoods such as these---that we as a society keep dropping the ball. When every child isn't given more opportunities to roll out from under that apple tree, we ALL suffer the negative consequences."