Say ‘Boston crime drama’ these days and people yawn. I yawn, and I’m from Boston (OK, inasmuch as I’m from anywhere) and typically love seeing my old home onscreen and the names of former co-workers in the credit roll. So What Doesn’t Kill You, which follows the travails of two hoodlum friends, starts off as a tough sell.

All you have to say, however, is Mark Ruffalo, and I’m in. He stars with Ethan Hawke as one of the two hoods, and both guys have been praised up and down since the Toronto fest for their performances. Hawke had previously lifted himself off my ‘disregard’ list with the TIFF ’07 family crime drama Before The Devil Knows You’re Dead, and this looks like a perfect continuation.

Then there’s the fact that first-time director and co-writer Brian Goodman based some of the film on his own experiences. In my mind, that makes this movie the polar opposite of trash like The Boondock Saints, which is reason enough to want to see it. 

The LA Times had a small version of the trailer as an exclusive last week; you should read that original article for some unadulturated gushing over the film.