“I half-agree with the near-unanimous praise for There Will Be Blood,” Slate‘s Timothy Noah wrote yesterday. “[But] I would call it a halfterpiece. The first half and especially the film’s dialogue- free first 20 minutes, ranks among the most thrilling moments I’ve witnessed on film. About midway, though, I felt that There Will Be Blood lost its clarity, for reasons that say something about the impoverished state of political discussion in the movies generally.

Paul Thomas Anderson‘s “failure to say anything interesting or even coherent about the structure of American society is not unusual. I can’t remember the last time I saw an American movie that did (excepting documentaries; gangster movies, which inherited this function from The Godfather; and the occasional movie promoting ethnic, sexual, religious, or some other form of tolerance and inclusiveness).”