Played By: Javier Bardem
Movie: No Country for Old Men (2007)
"What's this guy supposed to be, the ultimate badass?" asks Llewelyn Moss (Josh Brolin) in No Country for Old Men.
"Nah, I don't think that's how I'd describe him," answers Carson Wells (Woody Harrelson), a man with insider information about hired killer Anton Chigurh. He continues: "I guess I'd say he doesn't have a sense of humor."
But of course the Coen brothers do, and so Chigurh provides some of the deadpan comedy in the dry-as-dust crime-as-process adaptation of McCarthy's novel. Think of his startling cough during the conversation with the gas station clerk—hilarious, if you've got the right perspective.
Like the Judge, the philosophizing antagonist of McCarthy's Blood Meridian, Chigurh is a man with a particular perspective on the world, one concerned with chance, fate, and debts accrued during the course of a human life. His name is inscrutable, his methods unusual. He's more of an idea with the ability to murder you than a person, which is not a knock against Javier Bardem's performance. Indeed, he's perfect for the part: He reveals nothing. —RS