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Püha Tõnu kiusamine
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Reviews & Ratings for
The Temptation of St. Tony More at IMDbPro »Püha Tõnu kiusamine (original title)

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28 out of 37 people found the following review useful:

When did doing good become so hard?

Author: oOgiandujaOo from United Kingdom
17 October 2010

Tõnu (Tony) works under the thumb of an Estonian industrialist with the bearing and manner of an ape, and comes off as a curly-haired space cadet accountant. This film, in which he plays the central character, is a rather blatant anti-capitalist farce. There are overt references to Buñuel's Viridiana (a glorious updated tramp's banquet), and on consumption and the commodification of sexuality, to Pasolini.

The style overall though one might suggest is closer to Roy Andersson, with black humour drawing frequent guffaws from the audience, characters stewing in an oblivion of self-absorption, and Christian religious themes. Perhaps the humour is even self-reflexive, at one point Tõnu sits in a vast auditorium watching a drab staging of Chekhov's Uncle Vanya. A speech from Astroff is the most important, 'The peasants are all alike; they are stupid and live in dirt, and the educated people are hard to get along with. One gets tired of them. All our good friends are petty and shallow and see no farther than their own noses; in one word, they are dull. Those that have brains are hysterical, devoured with a mania for self-analysis. They whine, they hate, they pick faults everywhere with unhealthy sharpness. They sneak up to me sideways, look at me out of a corner of the eye, and say: "That man is a lunatic," "That man is a wind-bag." Or, if they don't know what else to label me with, they say I am strange.' The audience watching the play one feels are learning nothing from the lesson presented, and perhaps the audience watching the audience nothing either.

I'm not convinced either Õunpuu or Chekhov show people as being able to change. Tõnu worries about minutiae, for example whether a bleeding man will ruin the white leather seats of his trophy car, too concerned with liability and what he might lose to move, stuck in a bourgeois straitjacket. When did doing good become so hard?

Just to warn you that there are scenes of nastiness in the movie that may have stopped me watching the movie if I had known about them. They are generally to do with cannibalism.

My favourite scene may be the slow track in the dilapidated church, plaster peeled, frescoes gone, worshippers gone. I think that probably about sums the malaise up.

Subtlety and craft are occasionally lacking, but after the film I felt I was more humanised and so I give it top marks. Walked out feeling incredibly spooked.

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22 out of 30 people found the following review useful:

dark, absurd, surprising film

Author: magus-9 from Germany
9 October 2010

A film that follows the travails of a middle management guy through a black-and-white Estonia, leading from funerals to swamps to theatres, from dinner parties to ruined churches and a cannibal cabaret nightclub.

This is an unusual and original film... whilst it has echoes of film-makers such as Roy Andersson or Bela Tarr, it is also clear that Ounpuu has his own original voice to develop. In a few places the surrealism or absurdism seemed, to me, a bit forced or self-conscious,but in many places the film is truly unique, funny, disturbing, odd, dreamlike and poignant. An unhoned, rough talent maybe, but a big one.. I'll look forward to his next film...

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19 out of 25 people found the following review useful:


Author: thanasis z from Greece
25 June 2011

I have no doubt that this movie will be recognized as one of the most important movies of the 21th century.Mark my words, even if you think that i am exaggerating, and then, watch this amazing movie. You will agree with me if you like the cinema of Roy Anderson, Kubrick, Buñuel and tarkofsky.I just saw this movie and i feel a little strange, it is a deeply touching film which put you in deep thoughts about mankind's tomorrow, about the brutality of the powerful people that rule the planet. Of course, this is an anti-capitalist movie, but ,additionally, it is much more than this. The absence of God, the absence of love.. It is starting as a sarcastic,black humored film but it ends very strongfully with scenes that haunt your mind.. If you are under 18, or you are very sensitive, i am not suggesting you to see it. I also have to say that I didn't understand the final scene. Sorry for my English but it's been a long time since i wrote in this language..

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22 out of 36 people found the following review useful:

Let's Say - Fantastic!

Author: petar-mitric
26 February 2010

New Õunpuu's film is a real jewel in contemporary cinema. It confirms his bright talent and distinctive sense for storytelling. "Temptation of St. Tony" is full of epic scenes which (one day) might get praised as some of the highest cinema peaks of our time. Leading you trough the dark corridors of mankind director awards the viewer after each corner with such visual brilliancy that you can't get irrelevant. Cinematic language of "Temptation of St. Tony" is closer to classics like Antonioni, Bunuel or Tarkovsky than to contemporary film making styles. After "Sügisbal" and "St. Tony" it's sure that we have a new, complete author on cinematic stage. Let's celebrate.

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3 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

the new Bela Tarr?

Author: federovsky from bangkok
10 October 2016

Second feature from the Estonian director of the highly acclaimed Sugisball charts the catastrophic breakdown of the life of a dull, provincial middle-manager. Comparison with Tarkovsky and others may be premature but this is no sophomore effort and is worth taking seriously as it's full of impressive, meticulous scenes, ranging from droll to oddball to deeply disturbing, with good use of ambient music and innovative camera-work (surprisingly, still possible).

The narrative, in five parts, is sparse and evidently a large dose of obscurantism was added during the editing. At first it looks like a bleak comedy, then it seems to morph into a religious allegory (there's a fine scene where a priest walks up the wall) before developing into a quite nasty Lynchian nightmare involving cannibalism.

One synopsis I read bears scant relation to what I saw - the diabolic choice given to Tony by the 'Meister' whether to rebel or conform (presumably a simple metaphor of life under the Soviets) was absent - which may be just as well, because the obscurity of the narrative provides much of the atmosphere.

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4 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

Sadly ignored

Author: edward dardis ( from Vancouver Canada
11 May 2013

I have to agree with all of the previous Positive reviews (only 6 right now...) with the references to Roy Anderson, Kubrick, Buñuel and Tarkofsky - I also thought superficially of Eraserhead by David Lynch. Shot in black and white, except for his Bentley and modern house, this film looks like it could have been made in the 1960s. A masterful effort, disturbing but with "painterly" composition and good acting. Some of the references, religious and otherwise (like a black dog he accidentally hits with his car, then reappears alive, only to be killed by his wife), escape me, but I would definitely see this a second time. I'm amazed a film like this can be so ignored and unknown.

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4 out of 24 people found the following review useful:

This movie is terrible. Plain and simple.

Author: sweenetto from United States
6 August 2012

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I have no clue how some other people that left a comment could compare it to Antonioni or Bunuel's dreamlike masterpieces.

The critique to the wild capitalism rampant in the former USSR, although now relevant more than ever, sounds trite.

The difficulties of communicating in a couple and keeping a relationship alive are analyzed without any depth or insight.

I understand that corruption in modern Russia and in the Baltic region is a serious problem, but the way the lack of justice is portrayed in the movie, with the attempt of being an upstanding citizen that backfires and leads to trouble, is very cheap.

But I must say that I liked two things:

- the devastated Church scene was quite beautiful, both visually and in terms of its message (the age of religion is gone, and only empty spaces are left, both because people left distracted by their search for material success and because of the "looting" that has taken place by the media, the political and cultural leaders.)

- when the main character runs to the young girl in a jogging outfit, with the tags still on (meaning that although he tried to put "a new suit" on, his change was just on the outside, it was superficial.)

Quite possibly what we are living (or what the former USSR is experiencing) is not the Golden age. But then, Are we really sure we are no longer capable of doing good? Are we really sure that we are so busy with ourselves that we don't even recognize that we are eating alive our loved ones (the new lover) and killing what they the cherish most (the dog)?

To conclude: this is a very pretentious movie, that was designed to look like art and to be provocative, without a genuine and honest message. In my opinion, the emperor is naked, and the director failed miserably.

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