Box art for What Doesn't Kill You

What Doesn't Kill You

Ethan Hawke and Mark Ruffalo lead an all-star cast in this drama about a pair of childhood friends from the gritty streets of South Boston that turn to crime as a way to get by.

Rotten Tomatoes® scores

  • Critic Score
  • Audience Score

movie reviews from Rotten Tomatoes®

Top Critic Reviews

Fresh: A mostly gripping, well-acted and surprisingly engrossing crime drama. Mark Ruffalo delivers an Oscar worthy performance that's both sensitive and surprisingly moving.

- Avi Offer, NYC Movie Guru, Thursday, June 24, 2010

Rotten: Nothing really going on here

- Ben Lyons, At the Movies, Monday, December 15, 2008

Fresh: I thought that Brian Goodman managed to put us in this hardscrabble South Boston neighborhood.

- Ben Mankiewicz, At the Movies, Monday, December 15, 2008

Audience Reviews

2 stars

Mark Ruffalo, Ethan Hawke, Amanda Peet, and Donnie Wahlberg's performances in this film make the film worth seeing. Ruffalo and Hawke remind me here of a young DeNiro and Keitel. The film kind of reminds me of the film Mean Streets. I didn't like how the film opened. I didn't like the style or structure of the film. Still the film is worth seeing especially cause of the performances of Ruffalo and Hawke.

- SC007, Sunday, July 10, 2011

3 stars

This was a pretty intense movie, but it felt as though as I watching it in fast forward. What Doesn't Kill You is the story of two brothers, who grow up in poverty and whom turned to organized crime to survive. For fifteen years, they did what they were told, but with the boss on his way to prison, they decide to go off on their own. Admittedly, it's a tremendous story that follows the paths of these brothers over the course of the next few years, the problem was that in this movie, years translate into about 10 minute intervals. Instead of giving us a complete and accurate portrayal, the director decided to cut the story into small fragments, usually no longer than a minute or two. Something is said, something happens, and then were on to another something, when? where? who knows!? The movie moved so fast and was so choppy, that it left my head spinning. Despite the confusion, it was pretty entertaining and Mark Ruffalo gives an unbelievable performance. Here's another example of a guy I've seen around, never thought much of, who randomly shows up in a B-movie and just makes the whole film worth watching. If you're able to keep up, and this movie doesn't confuse you into an absolute stupor, it's not bad. The story is solid, the cast is good, and it has it's moments, but again only if you can get passed the ridiculous pace the director has decided to set for us.

- Tss807, Tuesday, August 14, 2012

3 stars

In "What Doesn't Kill You," Brian(Mark Ruffalo) and Paul(Ethan Hawke) are two small time thieves who have to give a percentage of their earnings to the local mob in South Boston. They are frustrated at the lack of promotion, especially with Brian supporting his wife Stacy(Amanda Peet) and two sons. An opportunity arises when Pat Kelly(Brian Goodman, who also directed and co-wrote), the boss, is sent up the river on an old murder charge. So, Paul and Brian go freelance, dreaming of even taking down an armored car someday... Based on a true story, "What Doesn't Kill You" is a kitchen sink drama about two men who try to steal everything but the kitchen sink, including your hearts, that is raised above the routine by the lived-in performances from Mark Ruffalo and Ethan Hawke. Alas, the same cannot be said for Amanda Peet. The movie has a preachy tone when it comes to exploring the choices we make in life but it is refreshing that the out of control friend is the family man this time around. And you know times are tough when even the criminal element has a hard time making ends meet.

- gator681, Wednesday, April 21, 2010