Life During Wartime

Photo Courtesy of the Sundance Film Festival

Books from
Buy The Play.

Review, by Richard Schwartz

In an age of rampant crime, people feel more comfortable in the sanctuary of alarmed cars and barricaded houses than in the company of fellow human beings.

This isolation breeds paranoia and emotional distance. Against this backdrop, Tommy Hudler (David Arquette), a promising residential burglar-alarm salesman, and his charismatic mentor Heinrich Grigoris (Stanley Tucci) establish a moderately successful business. However, the unsatisfied Heinrich concocts an illegal scheme to enhance their profits.

Meanwhile, Tommy has fallen for Gale (lusciously portrayed by Kate Capshaw), a beautiful woman quietly raising her teenage son Howard (Ryan Reynolds) alone. Gale reaches out to Tommy, and they begin an affair. As Tommy grapples with an ever-grayer line between right and wrong, tragedy strikes. Fueled by guilt and rage, he frantically attempts to discover the truth as his life, love, business, and friendship become entangled in a web of petty crime and brutal murder.

Arquette is furiously effective as a decent soul searching for a path, and his distinctive comic sensibility meshes brilliantly with Tucci, who brings depth and charm to a potentially unsympathetic character. These only head the list of dazzling performances, notably by Reynolds, who delivers an extremely funny, film-stealing monologue on a sexual experience.

Life during WarTime intricately juxtaposes the simplicity of real life with the complexity of imagination to capture a world frozen by fear. First-time director Evan Dunsky adeptly constructs an atmospheric noir comedy that balances extreme emotions and actions against a subtle truthfulness. The result is a sinfully hilarious film.

- Trevor Groth

Directed by: Evan Dunsky
Written by: Evan Dunsky, Keith Reddin
Starring: Mary McCormack, Stanley Tucci, David Arquette, Kate Capshaw, Ryan Reynolds, Tricia Vessey, Michael Learned, Lewis Arquette
Produced by: Dan Stone, Lisa Zimble
Original Music by: Christophe Beck

Back to the 1998 Sundance Film Festival

Back to the 1997 Toronto Film Festival

Back to the Reference Library

Look for Search Tips

Copyright 1994-2008 Film Scouts LLC
Created, produced, and published by Film Scouts LLC
Film Scouts® is a registered trademark of Film Scouts LLC
All rights reserved.

Suggestions? Comments? Fill out our Feedback Form.