Or, The Other Town, as it might be referred to, though this South Boston crime drama actually beat Ben Affleck‘s bankrobber yarn to the punch by almost two years. What Doesn’t Kill You follows two low-level minions of the Irish mob, Brian (Mark Ruffalo) and Paulie (Ethan Hawke), who find themselves at a crossroads: Brian wants to go straight and do good by his wife and kids, and the volatile Paulie wants to do just one last big score (you know how that usually goes). It’s a gritty, well-made character study with authenticity in spades (it’s something of an autobiographical piece by director Brian Goodman) — Donnie Wahlberg, forever underrated, plays a harrassing detective and also had a hand in the screenplay. Ruffalo is great as usual, but it’s Hawke who really scores this time around with what might be his most intense performance to date.
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