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The Operator
The Operator
Actors: Michael Laurence, Christa Miller, Stephen Tobolowsky, Brion James, Brad Leland
Director: Jon Dichter
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama, Mystery & Suspense
R     2002     1hr 42min


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Movie Details

Actors: Michael Laurence, Christa Miller, Stephen Tobolowsky, Brion James, Brad Leland
Director: Jon Dichter
Creators: Bert Guthrie, Jon Dichter, Darren Kloomok, Betty A. Buckley, Douglas Bruce, Jay Barnet
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama, Mystery & Suspense
Sub-Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama, Mystery & Suspense
Studio: First Look Pictures
Format: DVD - Color
DVD Release Date: 03/19/2002
Original Release Date: 01/01/2001
Theatrical Release Date: 01/01/2001
Release Year: 2002
Run Time: 1hr 42min
Screens: Color
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 1
Members Wishing: 0
MPAA Rating: R (Restricted)
Languages: English

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Movie Reviews

Loved this film
(5 out of 5 stars)

"A very smart film. Great writing. I totally disagree with another customer/reviewer who said that the operator in the movie spouted fake zen philosophy. The writing was in total respect of eastern philosophy and it was crucial to the telling of the story. I was constantly surprised and delighted by the twists and turns in this movie. I also thought that Michael Lawrence in the lead role was fantastic. What a tour de force. There aren't many male actors working today who could have done a better job and so I'm surprised that I haven't seen Lawrence in any other films. It was great to see a few veteran film actors on the screen. The casting was nothing short of perfect. Brion James was a total creep and Stephen Tobolowski was a hoot as the bookie. Christa Miller from The Drew Carrey Show was perfect as the wife. I've never seen her act like this on the sitcom. I hope she does more meaty roles like this more often. I highly recommend this film to anybody who loves movies and wants to be entertained. It's a creepy thriller with lots of humor that's smart not stupid."
Michael Butts | Martinsburg, WV USA | 04/03/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)

"THE OPERATOR is a marvelous movie--inventive, original, comic, tragic, suspenseful. Writer director Jon Dichter has crafted a modern day morality tale, with a despicable cad at its moral center. From the opening moment when Gary Wheelan is caught messing around with a hunter's wife to the quiet climax at an old woman's house, THE OPERATOR is a very engaging and intriguing film. Much credit must be given to Michael Laurence, who carries the entire movie in his role as Wheelan. First, he's flippant, self-assured, Mr. Cool. Then he makes the big mistake of being extremely rude to a telephone operator (well voiced by Jacqueline Kim), and then his whole life falls apart. Even though Laurence's character is not likeable, by the time he goes through the hell Ms. Kim puts him through, one can't help but feel no one deserves this kind of upheaval in their lives. Laurence is superb in the scene where he breaks down, attends the church service of an African-American minister he removed from jury duty. He and John Beasley share a scene rich in redemption, loss, and spiritual renewal. It's a beautifully doone scene and Laurence shines. Christa Miller as Laurence's wife is also quite good, as is veteran Brion James in the role of one of Wheelan's clients. Stephen Tobolowsky also does a nice turn as Wheelan's bookie, who has an interesting way in looking at his illegal activities.
All in all, a quite different and provocative film. If the operator is acting as some sort of spiritual guide to Wheelan, then perhaps that's what the movie's ultimate message is."
Not bad at all...
LGwriter | Astoria, N.Y. United States | 03/11/2006
(3 out of 5 stars)

"OK, this is not superior filmmaking and OK, the acting is definitely ham-fisted at times (especially the lead, Michael Laurence). But the premise is good and the plotting is, in fact, pretty solid.

An arrogant young attorney (Laurence) [gee, is there any other kind? joke] with an attractive loving wife beds as many other babes as he can, gambles, and defends a racist sleazeball (played really well by the late great Brion James, one of the best character actors around). So this guy's no saint. He makes the mistake of blasting insults at a telephone operator when he's frustrated about finding a number and little by little, the operator begins to ruin his life, via phony phone calls, credit card destruction, bank account problems, humiliation, etc.

So, yeah, it is a come-uppance tale, but the plotting is strong enough to surpass the definite weaknesses in acting. It's good that both the aforementioned James and also Stephen Tobolowsky are on hand to lend the film some acting chops; the other actors pale by comparison. On the other hand, the story is pretty well thought out and it does create some suspense--what will the operator think of next to bring this guy down? At first the tricks she pulls are predictable, but things heat up and get somewhat more creative.

In one scene, she calls him on his cell phone and spouts Buddhist philosophy at him, which, though some may think sounds phony, is actually real--about desire, attachment, and suffering. That was unexpected and pretty cool.

As mentioned, not great, but not bad at all. Worth seeing."