Insurance adjuster Noah (Elias Koteas) works with people who have suffered the loss of their homes and other disasters. He gets a little too involved with his clients, taking advantage of their vulnerability to control ... more »their lives--while only having the most glancing interactions with his own wife, Hera (Arsinee Khanjian), who secretly videotapes the porn films she watches for a government censor board. When another couple (Maury Chaykin and Gabrielle Rose) poses as part of a film crew who want to use Noah and Hera's house, Noah moves his family into the motel where he houses his displaced clients, bringing his separate worlds too close together. Though initially mysterious and distanced, The Adjuster builds carefully to a striking sense of loss and sorrow. As in his earlier films, Canadian auteur Atom Egoyan explores how people evade and contain the traumas in their lives. --Bret Fetzer« less
"What little hope I held for the future of mankind retaining any intellect, capacity for introspection, or sense of humor is now gone due to the asinine, stupid, brain-dead comments below that this film is slow and stupid. THE ADJUSTER is a great film. Wicked, funny as all get out, darkly comic, sexy as hell, and perhaps the most chilling and dead-on critique of '666' and consumer-society ever filmed. Mychael Danna's score is Byzantine-perfect; Elias Koteas is at his peak as an enigmatic, lost soul.What's it about? Well, it's about us. Modern people in a listless, overindulged, sensate-conscious lifestyle flailing about in a Northern American state of emotional repression doing anything they can to give meaning to their lives, or rather, just accumulate more stimulation. And in such a society, who becomes a 'Christ' figure to people who can't afford one due to their lukewarmness? Well, an Insurance Adjuster, pal. Who else? The guy who evaluates your 'lifestyle' and returns a semblance of it to you. I mean, it is ALL 'lifestyle' now, isn't it? You don't need a Diety, do you? No, all you want is an insurance adjuster. He will even sleep with you.The ending quotes from "The Sound of Music" in a comic/horrific finale. One of the main characters - unable to 'play house' anymore in the landscape of modern time and space - decides to burn down the Insurance Adjuster's house he has rented - starts singing "My Favorite Things" as he proceeds to extinguish them all. Filmmaking doesn't get much more sly than that."
David C. George | Chapel Hill, North Carolina United States | 07/03/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Truely the strangest of movies; at the same time disturbing and hilarious. Only somewhat like director Egoyan's later films "The Sweet Hereafter" or "Felicia's Journey." A bit confusing, but well worth multiple viewings - underated actor Elias Koteas gives a great performance, as does the rest of the cast. Certainly not for the narrow minded or viewers of film purely as entertainment. Incredible visual imagery. This film is "very special" !"
Doug Anderson | Miami Beach, Florida United States | 06/13/2003
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Of all of the early Egoyan's this is the one most like Sweet Hereafter as both are centered around a character whose job it is to assist victims of a tragedy but it doesn't hit as many notes as Sweet Herafter in fact mostly its just dark and occasionally darkly comic. Perhaps too dark in places and in other places just too bizarre to be taken seriously. I like Egoyans cast of actors many of whom appear over and over again in his films. Egoyan is sort of like Altman in his use of tangled narratives and ensemble casts but unlike Altman he doesn't give us much variety. Everyone in the Adjuster is wounded beyond repair and after awhile one longs for at least one character who is not emotionally crippled but its a vain hope. Sweet Herafter had its share of bizarre characters and moments but many of those characters had moments of self realization and found their way toward some form of redemption and though the film focused on human vulnerability and weaknesses and imperfections the film also offered glimpses of human strengths and will and capacity to endure. The Adjuster focuses on the weaknesses and imperfections exclusively. The Adjuster himself played by Elias Koteas is a complex character who has collected the victims of various tragedies around him. Its his job to help these vitims collect on their insurance claims but his interest in the job has him doing more than that. Apparently others tragedies arouse him in some way and he ends up sleeping with many of the people he is supposed to be helping. No one seems to notice what hes doing, in fact all the victims inexplicably see him as some kind of angel there to help them through their suffering(perhaps they see him in this light because they need something to give them strength)but of course the Adjuster is no angel. Since most of the victims have been burned out of their homes they all live in the same hotel and this makes for one of the more inspired dark comic scenarios in memory. A few of the characters are interesting but some of the story lines are so outrageous that they dwarf everything else in the movie. At points the film feels like overkill. For instance the adjuster's wife is a censor who watches porn flicks all day and then along with other censors casts her vote as to which bits need censoring. However she actually really enjoys watching the stuff and shes strikingly beautiful so its not a scenario without considerable appeal. But the scenario gets out of hand when Egoyan makes the censors offices (as well as the people working there) look and act like something out of Kafka or Orwell. Egoyan seems to be trying too hard to be clever and so the point he is making about humans fascination with forbidden or dark subjects gets lost or misplaced. And then the nymphomaniac/exhibitionist seemed like a character from a very adult version of Saturday Night Live. The ending of the film reveals how Elias Koteas met his wife but reveals very little as to why Elias Koteas is so turned on by the victims that seek his services. Tragedies induce strange maladies is all we know. Koteas deserves credit for finding something human in his character. The film itself seems to be a study of the various ways we become dehumanized but the study seems superficial. Unlike Sweet Hereafter the film never digs deep enough into its characters to give us a chance at knowing them as sufferers of one bizarre affliction or another. Koteas does an excellent acting job with what hes given but even he seems a frustratingly incomplete sketch."
"Surreal as it may "The Adjuster" is still streaks and bounds ahead of most other sexual dramas. The story basically revolves around an insurance claims advisor (Elias Koteas) who helps people come to terms with the lose of their homes and possessions to some form of accident. He wife Hera (Arsinee Khanjian) works as a film censor who secretly films the pornography that she is viewing. There are various other characters who come into contact with the pair and sexual fantasies are the main theme that drives the story forward.In many ways it is hard to describe without actually seeing it. There is very little plot but the movie does have some very memorable characters and it does have a good climax. It is sort of like a tone-downed version of a David Lynch movie and film director Atom Egoyan does wonders with the cinematography. The film looks visually wonderful and is very pleasing to the eye.All in all this is a great drama but do not try and find too much of a plot here. It is more about the characters and their sexual dysfunctions. Some very memorable scenes throughout. Well worth seeing."
"Through two merciless human beings: a insurance agent and his wife conform a miserable duo: he practices the voyeurism and she edits, after taping, the private sexual affairs of his clients. As you see, the dramatic plot will engage you from start to finish. Its boldness, intriguing and provocative nature make of this film one of the most attractive, original and striking films of 1991 and one of the most remarkable of the nineties. Egoyan is one the most controversial film makers in the world and maybe, the best Canadian director of the last thirty years.