What Doesn't Kill You Brian Goodman

What Doesn't Kill You Brian Goodman
From a structural and directorial perspective, What Doesn't Kill You doesn't make a great deal of sense, opening with an impending final criminal act, citing social, morality-based decision-making as the pedagogical statement, but then manoeuvring around the demands of parental loyalty, learned systemic behaviour and cyclic thinking without a great deal of focus. Awkwardly rushing through childhood events in an effort to provide context, the film offers an autobiographical look at writer/director Brian Goodman's criminal past, with Mark Ruffalo playing Brian (Reilly) and Ethan Hawke playing his cockier, less morally concerned buddy Paulie. The pair make ends meet through petty thievery and performing various tasks for baddie head-honcho Pat (Brian Goodman), while Brian's wife (Amanda Peet) occasionally bitches him out for being a drug-addicted criminal. Years pass, prison sentences are served and our protagonist struggles with the demands of living a straight life when there's easy money around every corner. It's an actor's movie for sure, giving Ruffalo some solid material to work with, but is too familiar, perfunctory and sloppy to warrant any kind of interest as an actual film. There are moments that work, mainly those with Ruffalo struggling with his paternal role, but mostly the movie feels acted, hammy, strained and far too deliberately "edgy." In both the commentary with writers Brian Goodman and Donnie Wahlberg and the "Makes You Stronger" featurette there's mention of the original draft of the script being written on cheap notepads and cocktail napkins by a recently emancipated Goodman, which, sadly, is fairly obvious when watching the film. The thing is, when listening to the commentary and watching this DVD supplement, the passion for the project is evident, which makes it that much more disappointing that the film isn't particularly good. Many deleted and alternate scenes are included as well, mostly to the tune of Hawke overacting (E1)