"Crime Doesn’t Pay"
What You Need To Know:
WHAT DOESN’T KILL YOU is well made, with excellent performances by Mark Ruffalo and Ethan Hawke as the two thieves. The movie’s message is clearly that crime doesn’t pay and that redemption is possible, but it contains crime violence, drug use and much foul language. Also, a married couple is engaged in sex onscreen. This story of a man making choices to live a better life with his family instead of following a life of crime is worth watching, but caution and discernment must be exercised because of the movie’s strong content.
(BB, C, LLL, VV, SS, N, AAA, DDD, MMM) Strong moral worldview of crime not paying and the hope of redemption, with a reference to the Lord’s Prayer; 104 obscenities, one profanity; strong crime violence of two characters being shot, multiple characters beat up in fist fights; depicted scene of sexual relations between married couple; upper male nudity, couple in bed together but covered up; much drinking of alcohol; much smoking and much use of illegal drugs; and, stealing, extortion, lying.
WHAT DOESN’T KILL YOU is the story of two childhood friends Brian and Paulie, who grow up on the streets of Boston and learn crime at an early age. Now grown, they steal and “shake down” small businesses and do the bidding of small time local crime lords. The toil on Brian’s wife and children is great as he becomes addicted to crack cocaine and spends what little money they have on illegal drugs. When a heist goes bad and the two friends end up in prison for five years, Brian is forced to confront his life, attending Alcoholic Anonymous meetings.
When released, Brian is torn between trying to stay clean or returning to his life of crime. Finally seeing his children growing up and regretting what he has done leads him to make the right decision, even though his best friend Paulie chooses a different path.
WHAT DOESN’T KILL YOU is well made with excellent performances by Mark Ruffalo and Ethan Hawke as the two thieves. Amanda Peet as the strong, yet longsuffering wife of Brian brings much heart to the story. The story takes a while to get going and not until Brian is wounded does the action of the story pick up. There is an unexpected twist at the end, which holds a nice surprise.
The movie’s message is clearly that crime doesn’t pay. To get to that point, however, most of the movie is attempts by the main characters to try to get crime to pay through threats, stealing, and extortion. There is much foul language and violence and depicted drug use. A married couple is engaged in sexual relations onscreen.
Ultimately, though, Brian makes a better choice and faces life in reality, choosing the path laid out by AA of one day at a time. In one of the AA meetings, the Lord’s Prayer is recited, though Brian leaves, saying that the part about praying makes him uncomfortable. His sponsor says that at first it did the same to him.
This story of a man making choices to live a better life in relationship with his family instead of following a life of crime is worth watching, though caution and discernment must be exercised because of the movie’s strong content.