Adjuster, The (1991): Egoyan’s Fourth Feature, Starring Elias Koteas (Relevant to Gay Cinema)

The Adjuster, Canadian Atom Egoyan’s fourth feature, is the first of his works to achieve international acclaim, playing at the Cannes Film Fest (in the Director’s Fortnight program).

Egoyan based the film on a true story in 1989, when a fire burned down his parents’ home, which made him realized how strange it was for the victims to be emotionally dependent of insurance workers.

Elias Koteas plays insurance adjuster Noah Render, who tries to restore the damaged lives of his clients by using unorthodox methods. 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.’

This amoral yet compassionate protagonist, who lives with his film-censor wife (Arsinée Khanjian, Egoyan’s real life wife) is in a barren suburban development.

Strangely compelling, the film relies on wide-screen cinematography to portray the space that separates Noah from those he encounters.