H D - S E N S E I

A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze


What Doesn't Kill You [Blu-ray]


(Brian Goodman, 2008)



Review by Gary Tooze



Theatrical: Yari Film Group Releasing

Video: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment



Region: FREE! (as verified by the Momitsu region FREE Blu-ray player)

Runtime: 1:40:03.998

Disc Size: 27,965,939,135 bytes

Feature Size: 23,714,531,328 bytes

Average Bitrate: 31.60 Mbps

Chapters: 16

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: April 28th, 2009



Aspect ratio: 2.35:1

Resolution: 1080p

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video



Dolby TrueHD Audio English 2897 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 2897 kbps / 16-bit (AC3 Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 448 kbps)
Commentary: Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps / Dolby Surround



English, English (SDH), none



• Commentary by writer/director Brian Goodman and writer Donnie Whalberg

• 13 Deleted and Alternate Scenes (15:34)

Makes You Stronger - The Making of What Doesn't Kill You (18:55)

BD-LIVE enabled





Description: Brian (Mark Ruffalo) and Paulie (Academy AwardŽ nominee Ethan Hawke, Best Actor In a Supporting Role for Training Day, 2001) are two lifelong friends who grew up like brothers on the gritty streets of south Boston. They started early as street thugs living by the criminal code, doing petty crimes and misdemeanors that grew increasingly more serious. Eventually they fall under the sway of organized crime boss Pat Kelly (Brian Goodman). As Brian becomes increasingly lost in a haze of drugs and 'jobs,' he consistently disappoints his loyal wife (Amanda Peet) and their two sons. Torn between the desire to be a good husband and the lure of easy money, Brian must make the hardest choice of his life.



The Film:

Calling Brian Goodman’s well-observed, episodic crime drama/character study a South Boston Irish Mean Streets isn’t too far off, but it sells the actor-turned-director’s feature debut somewhat short. Despite its ultrafamiliar setup, What Doesn’t Kill You (original title: Real Men Cry) makes a virtue of directness and simplicity.

No rank mimic, Goodman has the sense to hang the frisson of his autobiographical tale on the actions and faces of his career-crook protagonists rather than on baroque Scorsesean logophilia or labyrinthine Michael Mann–esque plotting. The narrative couldn’t be more straightforward: Lifelong pals Brian and Paulie (Ruffalo and Hawke), tired of pulling jobs for a neighborhood tosser, strike out on their own, end up in prison and diverge upon their release. A local cop (coscreenwriter Wahlberg) and Brian’s wife (Peet) hang around for extra focus.

Excerpt from TimeOut New York located HERE



Image :    NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were ripped directly from the Blu-ray disc.

Despite the feature being less than 25 Gig (the disc itself, however, sneaks into dual-layered territory) with some hints at a grittier, hand-held camera, technique - the high-definition image quality is, at times, very impressive. Indoor scenes have a rougher home edge making outdoor sequences shine on Blu-ray. While I might have suggested that the cinematography wouldn't export well to 1080P - in this case the image looks near perfect for relating the film's more realistic grassroots South Boston charm. Contrast might be the most worthy HD visual factor with emphasis on deep rich black levels. Colors appears true without being artificially overblown. Yes, this transfer looks quite strong and I have no notable complaints.















Audio :

The TrueHD track at 2897 kbps is adept but nothing overly remarkable. The film has its moments of separation with expected gunplay and violence. Bass response is most notable but the film is less aggressive in nature than might be expected from the 'crime-related' genre. The commentary is in 2.0 channel and there are no other audio options. Subtitles are available in English only. 




Extras :

The supplements appear to duplicate the simultaneously released DVD with the relaxed but informative commentary from Goodman backed by, co-writer and obvious friend, Donnie Wahlberg. Goodman touches on many of his personally related experiences which add some distinct interest to the discussion. There is an 18-minute SD featurette on the 'Making of...' with Goodman, Hawke and Ruffalo giving input - there are some behind the scenes shots as well. Aside from HD trailers - 13 deleted and one alternate scenes are included - these last about 15-minutes.



I'm quite keen on both lead actors and was anxious to give this a spin. The redemption angle caught me by surprise but the film's very human realism is impressive. The Blu-ray does it's job well and is only a few dollars more than the SD-DVD. The story is a decent one and the performances are perhaps even more appealing - so from that angle both film and digital transfer are recommended. It makes for a pretty good night in the home theater. 

Gary Tooze

April 22nd, 2009





About the Reviewer: Hello, fellow Beavers! I have been interested in film since I viewed a Chaplin festival on PBS when I was around 9 years old. I credit DVD with expanding my horizons to fill an almost ravenous desire to seek out new film experiences. I currently own approximately 7500 DVDs and have reviewed over 3000 myself. I appreciate my discussion Listserv for furthering my film education and inspiring me to continue running DVDBeaver. Plus a healthy thanks to those who donate and use our Amazon links.

Although I never wanted to become one of those guys who focused 'too much' on image and sound quality - I find HD is swiftly pushing me in that direction. So be it, but film will always be my first love and I list my favorites on the old YMdb site now accessible HERE.  

Gary's Home Theatre:

Samsung HPR4272 42" Plasma HDTV
Toshiba HD-A2 HD-DVD player (firmware upgraded)

Sony BDP-S300 1080p Blu-ray Disc Player (firmware upgraded)
Sony DVP NS5ODH SD-DVD player (region-free and HDMI)

Marantz SA8001 Super Audio CD Player
Marantz SR7002 THX Select2 Surround Receiver
Tannoy DC6-T (fronts) + Energy (centre, rear, subwoofer) speakers (5.1)

Gary W. Tooze








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