- Rated: R
- Closed captioning available
- Run Time: 1 hours, 40 minutes
- Video: Color
- Released: April 28, 2009
- Originally Released: 2008
- Label: Sony Pictures
- Encoding: Region 1 (USA & Canada)
- Packaging: Keep Case
- Aspect Ratio: Anamorphic Widescreen - 2.35
- Dolby Digital 5.1 - English
- Subtitles - English
- Additional Release Material:
- Deleted Scenes
- Alternate Scenes
- Audio Commentary:
- Brian Goodman, Director
- Donnie Wahlberg, Writer
- Makes You Stronger: The Making of What Doesn't Kill You
Performers, Cast and Crew:
Entertainment Weekly - 12/12/2008
"[A] tough, authentic street drama born, bred, and shot in the no-spin zone of working-class South Boston..." -- Grade: B+
USA Today - 12/12/2008
3 stars out of 4 -- "[A] terrific character-driven tale about small-time criminals....The film's sense of realism undoubtedly starts with director/actor/writer Brian Goodman..."
New York Times - 12/12/2008
"[I]t tells a good story well, and in the process quietly says a little something about what it means to look at the American dream from the bottom up."
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.
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 started early as street thugs living by the criminal code, doing petty crimes and misdemeanors that grew increasingly more serious. Eventually they fall under the sway of organized crime boss Pat Kelly (Brian Goodman). As Brian becomes increasingly lost in a haze of drugs and 'jobs,' he consistently disappoints his loyal wife (Amanda Peet) and their two sons. Torn between the desire to be a good husband and the lure of easy money, Brian must make the hardest choice of his life.