The Adjuster

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The Adjuster
Film poster
Directed byAtom Egoyan
Produced byRobert Lantos
Written byAtom Egoyan
Screenplay byAtom Egoyan
Music byMychael Danna
CinematographyPaul Sarossy
Edited bySusan Shipton
Distributed byOrion Classics (USA)
Release date
  • September 26, 1991 (1991-09-26)
  • July 1992 (1992-07)
Running time
102 minutes
BudgetCAD 1,500,000 (estimated)
Box office$396,573[1]

The Adjuster is a 1991 Canadian drama film directed by Atom Egoyan. It premiered at the New York Film Festival, and invited to the Director's Fortnight program at the Cannes Film Festival. It is Egoyan's fourth feature film, and the first of his works to achieve international acclaim.[2] The film has won 5 awards, as well as 2 other nominations upon its initial release.[3] Egoyan based the film on a true story in 1989, when a fire burned down his parents' home. He realized how strange it could be for victims of a house fire to be emotionally dependent of insurance workers, which led to the inspiration for the project.[4]

Egoyan promoted a book named after the same title as his film, The Adjuster, at a launch in Ottawa. It is a film analysis written by Tom McSorley, a head of the Canadian Film Institute. This book is part of an examination of Canadian cinema, in a series for the University of Toronto press. It goes into intricate depth about The Adjuster, as he traces the genesis, production, and reception of the film.[5] The author, McSorley, claims that it is a watershed film.


Insurance adjuster Noah Render (Elias Koteas) attempts to restore the damaged lives of his clients. His methods are unorthodox. He sleeps with most of them, puts them up in a designated hotel and quotes his profession’s code like a mantra: ‘You may not know it yet, but you’re in shock.’ When another plot line with Bubba and Mimi collides with the adjuster's, the story takes a surreal turn.

This amoral yet compassionate protagonist, who lives with his film-censor wife (Arsinée Khanjian) is in a barren, unfinished suburban development. This film is one of Atom Egoyan’s most strangely compelling creations. His effective use of wide-screen cinematography portrays the terrifying abyss that separates Noah from everyone he encounters.[6]

Selected cast[edit]


The film opens with general favorable reviews. Both Roger Ebert and New York Times' Janet Muslin gave positive reviews at the film's first release.[7] It was selected as one of New York Times' Best 1000 Movies Ever Made.[8]

The film garnered several accolades.[3] At the 17th Moscow International Film Festival it won the Special Silver St. George.[9] It also won the Best Canadian Feature Film in 1991 Toronto International Film Festival, where it was ranked the tenth in the Top 10 Canadian Films of All Time. (In the updated 2004 version it was replaced by Egoyan's another film The Sweet Hereafter, released in 1997, in the fourth place.)[10] The Adjuster was awarded Best Canadian Film and Best Ontario Feature at the Sudbury Cinéfest, the Special Jury Prize at the Moscow International Film Festival, and the Golden Spike at the Valladolid International Film Festival; all taken place in same year of its release in 1991.[11]


  1. ^ The Adjuster at Box Office Mojo
  2. ^ Townend, Mcintosh; Paul, Andrew (20 February 2012). "The Adjuster". The Canadian Encyclopedia.
  3. ^ a b The Adjuster (1991): Awards, IMDb, retrieved 16 March 2018
  4. ^ Pearson, Patricia (April 1998). "The sweet here and now". Saturday Night. 113: 67–72 – via ProQuest.
  5. ^ McSorley, Tom (2009). Atom Egoyan's 'The Adjuster'. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, Scholarly Publishing Division. ISBN 9781442641167.
  6. ^ Wise, Wyndham (2001). Take One's Essential Guide to Canadian Film. Toronto: University of Toronto Press. p. 4. ISBN 0 8020 3512 4. Retrieved 28 April 2017.
  7. ^ Maslin, Janet (1991). "Review/Film Festival; Cast Adrift by Disaster In Egoyan's 'Adjuster'". N.Y. Times. Retrieved 22 August 2018.
  8. ^ Nichols, Peter M. "The New York Times Best 1,000 Movies Ever Made". New York Times. Retrieved 16 March 2018.
  9. ^ "17th Moscow International Film Festival (1991)". MIFF. Archived from the original on 2014-04-03. Retrieved 2013-03-04.
  10. ^ "Top 10 Canadian Films of All Time". The Canadian Encyclopedia. 31 December 2012. Retrieved 28 April 2013.
  11. ^ McIntosh, Andrew (20 February 2012). "The Adjuster". The Canadian Encyclopedia. Retrieved 29 March 2018.

External links[edit]