The subtle black and white film, the sparse setting and the overtly absurd dialogue all point to a severely obsessive fan of Swedish director Ingmar Bergman. Maybe obsessive is a harsh word, but his admiration for the cinematic genius is obvious. Bergman is notorious for his hypocrisy. He is considered the master of portraying hope and despair so impeccably simultaneously that his films have left decades’ worth of audiences mesmerized and questioning what it all means.

Much like The Seventh Seal, possibly Bergman’s most well-known film, The Temptation of St. Tony is absurd. It is a movie about the meaningless of life and all that jazz, but more than anything it is a film that plays to the symbols that surround our lives. In this work, representation is allowed to cross borders and roadblocks with an endless supply of get-out-of-jail cards.

Tony, a middle-aged, middle-income, middle-interest manager, leads a quiet, boring life until his middle-life crisis kicks in. Reality drifts down the river of peculiarity, which is what always happens in existential works, right? Tony is shoulder deep in his crumbling marriage when he witnesses his wife’s infidelity, which influences a rash decision to fire his workers. Those darn symbols also seem to be all over the place. (It is a mystery to all what exactly the severed hands add to the movie.)

As director Veiko Õunpuu’s second feature film, The Temptation of St. Tony needs to be seen over and over and over until it all makes sense, which it never will. So we, the faithful audience, must resign to enjoying the splendor of a film that works better as a painting, as weird as that sounds. Like many of Stanley Kubrick’s work, Õunpuu strategically creates a hyper-glamorized world with which the viewer cannot help but fall magically in love.

Where many others have gone horribly wrong trying too hard to break the barrier that separates film from the other fine arts, this director has a trustworthy hand with the camera and an organic skill with the moving image.

Grade: B+

The Temptation Of St. Tony releases in select theaters Oct. 1.