The Adjuster (1991)

  • Drama, Canada
  • 1h 42m
  • Canada

Excerpted from the TIFF 1991 Programme Guide:

In a few short years, Atom Egoyan has risen to the top rank of new international directors. The Adjuster confirms all expectations, then raises the ante a notch. Marking both a strong step forward for Egoyan and a return to the emotional terrain of his breakthrough film Family Viewing (1987), his new film is a marvel.

Elias Koteas stars as Noah Render, an insurance adjuster who doesn’t so much live his life as manage it. He is the all-knowing saviour to people whose homes have been destroyed by fire, setting them up in a sort of victim’s motel and exploiting them in the most tasteful of ways. At home, he is a mere phantom to his family, neglecting his wife Hera (Arsinée Khanjian), who works as a film censor, and her sister Seta (Rose Sarkisyan) who ritualistically burns photographs of her former Beirut neighbourhood by day, and by night watches the violent and pornographic tapes Hera smuggles home from work. This odd little family soon collides with Bubba and Mimi (Maury Chaykin and Gabrielle Rose), a couple with more money than sense, and more free time than is healthy. They stage bizarre, expensive fantasies for their own amusement, and soon draw Noah, Hera, and Seta into their web.

Egoyan evokes a host of complex emotions and ideas while impressing through sheer wit and technical skill. Brilliantly shot by Paul Sarossy in widescreen CinemaScope, elevated by Mychael Danna’s musical score, and boasting a cast that reads like a who’s who of Canadian acting, this is a sum of truly remarkable parts. Assured, intricate, and entertaining, The Adjuster stands as a watershed in Egoyan’s career.

Official Selection, 1991 Toronto International Film Festival

Closed-captioning available.


Atom Egoyan