Thursday, April 21, 2011

Movie Review: What Doesn't Kill You

Not really why I chose to watch this on Netflix Instant over and above the 109 titles that come before it (I am fanatical about the ordering of my queue)... I think maybe I was in the mood for a movie about gangsters/crime.  And everything else I have on there is from before 1970 or from another country (and it was late and I didn't want to read subtitles)...  But I'm glad I did watch What Doesn't Kill You.

The movie is about two lifelong friends and hoodlums, Ethan Hawke and Mark Ruffalo, growing up in Boston.  They nickel and dime their way through life on small jobs here and there.  They feel as if bigger things are in the cards for them and start extorting money from drug dealers - and this is when Mark Ruffalo's Brian spirals out of control into alcohol and crack addiction.  What is alarming about this movie is that it is based on real people - the writer/director Brian Goodman telling his own tale of redemption.  It's a pretty small, intimate movie - as far as mob/crime movies go.  But he does a good job of keeping us interested and keeping up pace - and he does an even better job casting.  Ruffalo is once again amazing.  He is scary and conflicted and dark and brooding and so hard to figure out it is great to watch.  Hawke is also solid - as usual.  Everyone else appears as if they rolled off the streets of South Boston - more so than even Gone Baby Gone and The Town.  Probably because Goodman is one of these people, more so than anyone could imagine.  Someone who impressed me here was Amanda Peet.  Even though she's in my movie Battle for Terra, I always found her to be icy.  But she is able to show enough cracks in her exterior to make me feel some sympathy for her...

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