What Doesn’t Kill You

What Doesn’t Kill You


(Hollywood Video Closure-June 6, 2010)


What is interesting is that as much as director Brian Goodman and co-writer Donnie Wahlberg pontificate about how they tried to stick with the “truth,” it would appear that the behind-the-scenes story is more interesting than what they delivered to us.

That would be the true story of Brian Goodman, a criminal, alcoholic, and crack head, who went to jail from 1989 until 1994. He then left prison, struggled to go straight, and in 2008 co-wrote and directed this film, a fictionalization of his life in crime.

What the film does give us are particularly stirring performances from Mark Ruffalo (playing Goodman’s part) and Ethan Hawke; a surprisingly underplayed Wahlberg (considering he is co-writer and producer) and a Boston that is covered in year round snow. That the film got made is a testament to its director, and its rushed schedule shows in the weather: Ruffalo gets out of prison in winter, and his brother Ethan Hawke gets released presumably six months later…in winter. In fact the film actually deals in over twenty years of a life…and there is never a warm day in sight.

While Goodman was good enough (snicker, snicker) to bring not only Donnie, but another co-writer in to help mold what is essentially a diary entry into a feature film, it still could have used more separation as it plays very choppy and directionless, like simple video entries in a life. While this may be the intended effect, it takes away direction from what is essentially a straight-laced crime drama. Overall, a decent debut, although what remains to be seen is if Goodman will further blossom as a director now that his own story has been told. This much is known: he has already come a long way Also of note is the fact that the craziest sections in this film are based in fact according to Goodman and Donnie.

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