The Alarmist, also known as Life During Wartime, is a 1997 comedy film written and directed by Evan Dunsky and starring David Arquette, Stanley Tucci, Kate Capshaw, and Ryan Reynolds. The film is an adaptation of a play written by Keith Reddin.

The Alarmist
DVD case
Directed byEvan Dunsky
Produced byDan Stone
Lisa Zimble
Written byKeith Reddin (play)
Evan Dunsky
Music byChristophe Beck
CinematographyAlex Nepomniaschy
Edited byNorman Buckley
Bandeira Entertainment
Dan Stone, Flynn-Simchowitz
Key Entertainment
Distributed byLions Gate Films
Release date
September 5, 1997 (1997-09-05)
Running time
92 minutes
CountryUnited States



The Alarmist was reviewed by several mainstream critics. Most of them praised Stanley Tucci's performance, but criticized the film itself.

Stephen Holden from The New York Times called Tucci's performance "one of the subtlest, most delicious performances of his career". He found the first part of the film very entertaining, but considered that the movie deteriorates in its second part when it becomes more serious. "Shortly after the halfway point, "The Alarmist" takes a dramatic U-turn into a murder mystery in which Tommy suspects his boss of being the killer. At this point a movie that succeeded as a light, loopy satire of sex, salesmanship, shoddy ethics, gun nuts and geeky teen-agers finds itself seriously in over its head. Unable to decide where to go or what tone to adopt, it ends up treading water."[1]

Edward Guthmann from San Francisco Chronicle also praised Tucci's performance, but criticized the film indecision. "As a showcase for Tucci's comic skills, "The Alarmist" succeeds. We start the film feeling buoyed by his roosterlike energy and audacity, and we end it feeling let down by a script that can't quite decide what it wants to say."[2] Steve Davis from The Austin Chronicle called The Alarmist a "near-pointless movie" and wrote: "Perhaps the greatest sin of The Alarmist is its complete waste of Tucci in the role of Heinreich Grigoris, Hudler's paternal but unscrupulous mentor. Tucci never takes off; it's a stillborn performance. Maybe if Tucci had found something with which to work, the movie in turn might have found the center it so badly needs. As it is, The Alarmist is a movie that doesn't ring any bells."[3]


  1. ^ Holden, Stephen (October 16, 1998). "'The Alarmist': Peddling Home Security by Hook and Crook". The New York Times. Retrieved May 26, 2017.
  2. ^ Guthmann, Edward (November 6, 1998). "Tucci Steals Show in `Alarmist'". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved May 26, 2017.
  3. ^ Davis, Steve (November 30, 1998). "The Alarmist". The Austin Chronicle. Retrieved May 26, 2017.

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