Great Characters: Anton Chigurh

I must admit that as a movie, I didn’t care much for No Country For Old Men. I got what the movie was about: a new kind of criminal pops up, one that bewilders and terrifies a soon-to-be-retired police sheriff played by Tommy Lee Jones. He has no idea how to deal with this kind of criminal, hence the title of the movie.

Javier Bardem won the Best Actor Oscar for his role as Anton Chigurh, and it was very fitting. He’s a psychopath, but yet oddly-principled murderer who’s after a mountain of cash left over by a drug deal gone bad. His weapon of choice is that device they use to kill cows in the slaughter house. His low, gravelly voice suggests he speaks very seldom. In one scene, he encounters a convenience store clerk who asks a couple of wrong questions. Chigurh gets defensive—but in a way as to not arouse suspicion—and then flips a quarter and tells the man to call it. If the man calls it right, he wins. If he doesn’t, he dies.

He does, and Chigurh tells him to keep his “lucky quarter” in a safe place.

This movie is based on a book, and I think sometime I’ll have to read it. I wonder how the author came up with the idea for Anton Chigurh.

A friend told me that sometimes the creepiest characters in stories like this become even creepier when they do odd things, whether it’s playing “Lucky Quarter” with somebody or having a very pleasant conversation with somebody before engaging in a 100% nothing-personal-it’s-just-business murder of them. Maybe it’s because they’re obsessive compulsive. Or maybe they think that’s the way to intimidate people.

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