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Review: What Doesn’t Kill You by DrChocolate


Kyle Terry is DrChocolate and my good friend from college who I asked to help me out with my movie reviews. My budget limits the amount of movies I can see and the good Dr, while having similar taste in movies as me, often has differing viewpoints that I think will be valuable to the site.

It all seems so familiar. At a young age, South Boston friends mix into the local Irish mob. Drama, grit, bleakness, and crime all conflict with friendship and family. Boston and Boston crime seem to be bravura filmmaking central these days. Yet this one is different, different because it’s true. Different because the story is deeper. Different because it’s about becoming a man. Becoming a man not by exerting confrontational machismo, but by recognizing responsibility and buckling down and doing it for yourself and for those you love.

This is the directorial debut and first screenplay for Brian Goodman. And Lets hope he does more. It’s closely based on his life and experiences growing up in Southie. A haunted, spectacular Mark Ruffalo (why is he not one of the biggest actors in Hollywood?) portrays Brian on film and Ethan Hawke is his rangy, more volatile best friend/street brother Paulie. Tiring of pulling small jobs for a local mobster (Goodman himself, with a menacing pitbull’s presence) the pair starts pulling jobs for themselves, eventually saddling Brian with a fierce drug addiction and the both of them with a prison term. Brian, meanwhile, has two boys and a devoted, but not delusional, wife played by a surprisingly terrific Amanda Peet. Fiscal uncertainty, a damaged marriage, and a distant, guarded son all weigh on Brian, made so vivid by Ruffalo, as faces his options and the true definition of manhood.

Goodman’s direction is assured and calm and balances the gritty plot lines. Having the director be the subject of story clearly goes a long way towards making the drama feel so exposed and authentic. It’s Brian’s (character and director) exploration of manhood, fatherhood, and the bonds of marriage that make this film. Highly recommended. After watching, the making of doc on the DVD is also recommended as you get to hear from Goodman himself concerning the film, his life, and who the two melded together. First-class, overlooked film.

  • I need to add this one to the queue.

  • seoworkgroup1

    I like to add it. nice stuff, really nice.

  • Thanks for sharing.

  • Thanks for sharing.