The Adjuster

1991, R, 102 min. Directed by Atom Egoyan. Starring Elias Koteas, Arsinee Khanjian, Maury Chaykin, Gabrielle Rose, Jennifer Dale.

REVIEWED By Marc Savlov, Fri., Aug. 7, 1992

Noah Render (Koteas) spends his days, his nights, and every waking hour in between, working as a claims adjuster for his insurance firm. To his clients -- displaced people whose lives have been turned inside out by the fires that have taken their homes -- he is an angel. “You probably don't realize it, but you're in shock,” he says, as he proceeds to take care of their every need, from temporary housing to carnal desires. His job is his life, and it's not just claims he adjusts. Egoyan (Speaking Parts) melds the real with the surreal in The Adjuster, and comes out with something wholly original, a sort of skewed look at the notion of comfort, and just what some people will do to achieve it. Noah's wife, Hera (Khanjian) works at the public censor's office, where she secretly videotapes the pornographic images that replay endlessly before her; at home, she screens the films to her sister Arianne in an effort to share her work with her. Here, literally everyone brings their work home with at night. When the mysterious Bubba and his nymphomaniac girlfriend/wife (we're never really told what she is) enters the Renders' lives in an effort to create (under the pretense of shooting a movie) the perfect sexual fantasy, both couples are inadvertantly pulled into a maelstrom of confusion. Egoyan's film gets a bit confusing itself as it strains against the conventions of more standard, linear filmmaking -- at times you're not really sure how to feel about this or that plot twist, while at the same time it's equally unclear just what's going on in the characters' heads as well. Despite these occasional lapses, The Adjuster manages to sustain a subtle sense of not-quite-rightness; it's a disquieting ride into the peripheries of what you think is happening, and what really is happening.

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KEYWORDS FOR THIS FILM

The Adjuster, Atom Egoyan, Elias Koteas, Arsinee Khanjian, Maury Chaykin, Gabrielle Rose, Jennifer Dale

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