From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
Chigurh is a merciless hitman with no remorse or compassion for other human beings; He is in his 30s and has eyes as "blue as lapis ... Like wet stones". Although in the film, his eyes were black. He is described by one character in the novel as a "psychopathic killer". He nevertheless lives by a kind of moral code; in the novel and film, he kills people when his contract doesn't require it, simply because he feels they are "accountable". However, he never came face-to-face or even met the protagonist, Ed Tom Bell, in the story.
His main weapon of choice is a captive bolt pistol, which he uses either to kill his victims or to destroy cylinder locks on doors. A nail gun was used for the sound effect of Chigurh's cattle gun. He also wields a sound-suppressed Remington 11-87 semiautomatic shotgun and pistol (a TEC-9 in the film adaptation). Throughout both the novel and the film, Chigurh flips a coin to decide whether to kill prospective victims.
When Joel Coen and Ethan Coen approached Javier Bardem about playing Chigurh, he said "I don't drive, I speak bad English, and I hate violence." The Coens responded, "That's why we called you." Bardem said he took the role because his dream was to be in a Coen Brothers film. Joel Coen and Ethan Coen used a photo of a brothel patron taken in 1979 as a model for Anton Chigurh's hair style. When he first saw his new haircut, Javier Bardem said "Oh no, now I won't get laid for the next two months". The Coens responded by happily high-fiving; Bardem's response meant Chigurh would look as creepy as they'd hoped.
Role in the plot
In 1980, Chigurh is hired to retrieve a satchel holding US$2.4 million in bills from a drug deal that went wrong, but discovers that a welder named Llewelyn Moss, who chanced upon it while sniping antelope, has taken it and left town. Chigurh tracks Moss down to a motel using a receiver that connects to a transponder hidden in the satchel of money. However, Moss unintentionally tricks Chigurh into believing he was in the room next to his when he hides the money in the ventilation system. That room was being occupied by a group of Mexican gangsters who were set to ambush Moss. Chigurh brutally murders the Mexicans and searches for the money, but it is nowhere to be found.
Chigurh finds out about a bounty hunter named Carson Wells who, like Chigurh, has been hired to retrieve the bag of money. Chigurh kills Wells, and then ruthlessly tracks Moss down. Mexicans arrive during the scene where Chigurh and Moss face off in the streets, all of whom Chigurh kills. Though this scene was cut and decreased to the point that only Moss and Chigurh fought.
Unfortunately, Moss was eventually killed by Mexican gangsters at another motel. Once again Moss hid the money in the vents, which was unseen by the Mexicans at the time of their ambush. Chigurh arrives at the scene of the crime after the police have left, retrieves the money from the vent and returns it to his employers.
Near the end of the book, Moss' grieving widow returns home to find Chigurh inside, waiting for her. After hearing her pleas for mercy, he partially relents by relying on his coin toss. She calls heads; it comes up tails, and he shoots and kills her. While driving away from her house some three blocks away, Chigurh is badly injured in a hit-and-run car accident, sustaining a compound fracture of his left ulna and coming away with a limp. At the collision scene, before the authorities arrive, he offers $100 to a teenager on a bicycle to give him his T-shirt, seeking to use it to bind up his wounds himself. Chigurh then flees the scene before the ambulance arrives.
Though seen as a ruthless, psychotic killing machine, oddly enough, Chigurh is described as having his own set of morals, however twisted they may be. Anton did not kill at random or without purpose. Anton sees himself as a hand of fate; an instrument who exacts what is supposed to happen upon those it is supposed to happen to. He gives every victim he faces a chance of mercy by making deals either personally, or by flipping coins to make decisions. He has a great deal of endurance, such as being capable of withstanding pain from multiple shotgun blasts or from a fractured arm. He also has a broad medical knowledge and can even take care of his own wounds. He also shows some level of intelligence as seen when he escapes a sheriff's precinct and steals medical supplies from a drug store filled with civilians and security. He also uses many improvised tools at his disposal, seen where he uses coins to open air vents and a sheriff's handcuffs as a garrote. His shotgun silencer is described in the book as being "custom made".
Anton Chigurh kills or tries to kill almost every person he speaks to during the film. The only people he spares are the gas station proprietor, the woman at the trailer park office, the woman at the motel front desk, and the two children at the end. It is unclear if he kills the man who is in the office when he executes The Businessman. He is unable to kill Moss, who instead is killed by the Mexicans. Although you do not see Chigurh kill Carla Jean, it is implied he does since he checks the soles of his boots – presumably for blood – after he exits through the front door.
Critics have praised Bardem's portrayal of Chigurh, which won him an Oscar, a Golden Globe and a BAFTA for his performance. Chigurh, as played by Bardem, has been added to numerous lists of greatest villains. The Nostalgia Critic named him his 3rd scariest performance of all time UGO.com ranked him in its list of top 11 "silver screen psychos", while Empire.com ranked him 46 in their list of the 100 Greatest Movie Characters Of All Time.
- Ike Barinholtz plays Anton Chigurh in the spoof movie Disaster Movie.
- Chigurh appeared in The Simpsons episode Waverly Hills 9-0-2-1-D'oh, where he is a city inspector.
- He also appears in SNL, referenced in Weekend Update, Anton Chigurh "I Drink Your Milkshake"
- He is transformed as an anthropomorphic bunny in 30-Second Bunnies Theatre