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Characters / No Country for Old Men

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    Llewelyn Moss
Played By: Josh Brolin

A trailer park inhabitant who accidentally comes across the remnants of a Mexican drug shootout while hunting, and decides to take the money he finds, sparking the events of the movie.

  • Action Survivor: In some parts. Not so much by the end.
  • Anti-Hero/ Nominal Hero: Type IV or Type V , given his Jerkass tendencies, and his willingness to let innocent people die to save himself.
  • Badass Moustache: Justified because of the year.
  • Crazy-Prepared: He goes to some trouble setting up a proper hideout and trying to preempt his enemy's attacks. If it were not for his quick thinking and planning, he would have been killed very quickly.
  • Decoy Protagonist: The movie follows him, but Bell is the real protagonist.
  • Did You Just Flip Off Cthulhu?: In all badassery, he insults Chigurh when he is offered Carla Jean's life in exchange for the money.
  • Do Not Taunt Cthulhu: He bravely refuses Chigurh's offer, speaking up to him all the while.
  • Dropped a Bridge on Him: He is unceremoniously killed by Mexican drug runners offscreen.
  • Guile Anti-Hero: He manages to survive being chased by the Mexicans and Chigurh by the combination of savvy foresight and street-smart cunning.
  • Jerkass: He leaves a gun-shot wounded Mexican to die when the latter asks him for water in the middle of the day. That night, he decides to get him some water; this decision leads to the Mexicans' pursuit of him as the man who stole their money.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Everything that happens to him is entirely his own fault. He took the money from the shootout, returned to assist a dying drug dealer, All for Nothing, and stubbornly refuses to hand the money over Carson to save his life.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: He loves his mum. He also believes he loves his wife and convinces himself that her safety is his number one concern. Realistically, his decision to steal the money and help the Mexican gunman (the latter after an entire afternoon of double-mindedness) put her life in jeapordy, and his decision to attempt to kill Chigurh (after Chigurh gave him the choice to save her certifiedly, and before he possibly cheated on her at the motel in which he was shot) guaranteed her death almost entirely.
  • Nice Hat: Even after returning to the United States without any clothes other than hospital robes he buys one.
  • Retired Badass: Prior to the events of the story, Moss had served in the Army as a sniper during Vietnam, which explains why he did so well against Chigurh in a gun battle.

    Anton Chigurh
Played By: Javier Bardem

A Mexican hitman, and the primary antagonist of the story. He is tasked with obtaining the money lost in the shootout, but he goes rogue, and starts killing everyone in his pursuit of the money.

  • Adaptational Personality Change: Chigurh is very close to how he was in the book, but Javier Bardem is much more expressive and his performance borders on Faux Affably Evil whereas in the book Chigurh was pathologically stoic.
  • Adaptational Wimp: A downplayed example. At the end of the movie and book he gets T-Boned. In the book this moment showed his ingenuity and quick thinking; the car crashes into the drivers side, and he reacted quick enough to throw himself to the passengers side, still injuring himself but barely surviving. The film makes the incident less severe and he's slower to react; in the film the car crashes into the passenger side of the car and that's what saves him; in this incident he's not the hyper aware person he was in the book.
  • Apologetic Attacker: Played with in the book. When he talks to Carla Jean Moss, he repeatedly says to her, "I'm sorry." But it's clear that he doesn't actually feel any remorse for killing her and that he simply believes himself to have no real choice in the matter.
  • Ax-Crazy: A subversion. Even if they don't make sense to a normal person, Chigurh has his reasons, and he's more coldly logical than crazy. He does, however, have one of the primary traits of a true Axe-Crazy, which is the immense amount of danger involved in even speaking to him.
  • Badass Baritone: His voice is deep, gutteral, and scratchy.
  • Badass Boast: In the book.
    I have no enemies. I dont permit such a thing.
  • The Bad Guy Wins: Moss is killed, though not by him, but Moss' murderers fail to obtain the money, and he instead finds them. He subsequently kills Carla Jean, and escapes justice perfectly. He gets injured in the car crash, though.
  • Beware the Silly Ones: His ridiculous haircut says nothing about the ruthless and implacable killer he actually is.
  • Big Bad: The primary antagonist of the work.
  • Blue and Orange Morality: Chigurh does have some sort of ethical code. It just happens to be incomprehensible to anyone but himself. It's explained in some detail here.
  • Creepy Monotone: Never raises his voice
  • Deadpan Snarker: Demonstrated in the gas station.
  • Determinator: He's basically a human Super-Persistent Predator.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: Inflicted by him on the shop owner early on. He tries conversing with Chigurh, who responds by having him call a coin toss for his life. The salesman guesses correct, but still....
  • Dissonant Serenity: One of the most chilling aspects of him.
  • The Dreaded: In the drug business.
  • Eerie Pale-Skinned Brunette: He looks like death warmed over.
  • Establishing Character Moment: The first scene of the movie has him strangling a deputy with his handcuffs, and then killing a random driver with his air canister. Also, when he buys gas at a highway store, he forces the coin toss on the salesman for trying to small-talk with him.
  • Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: He cannot understand why his victims always implore him to have mercy though given his You Can't Fight Fate mentality and his belief that it's fate that lead him to the people he kills it's more like he cannot understand why they are asking mercy from him when it's obviously fate passing judgement on them. Less evil not being able to comprehend good and more evil not being able to comprehend chance, free will, and personal responsibility.
  • Evil Is Petty: As Carson puts it, he doesn't have a sense of humor. He is willing to belittle and possibly kill a gas station attendant for trying to make small talk with him.
  • Evil Sounds Deep: He has a really deep voice.
  • Expy: With his stoical expression, Creepy Monotone and extremely violent behaviour it's possible the character has been inspired by the equally monstruos Gear Grimsrud although Chigurh is visibly more cunning than the impulsive Grimsrud. Some fans also says that he's basically what Michael Myers would be like without his iconic white mask and most of all if he talked more often.
  • The Fatalist: Anton doesn't believe in random chance or coincidence. While he uses a coin toss to decide weather or not to kill someone he only let's them call it after he flips the coin. This is because by flipping the coin first, the result is already set, and it's up to the person calling to choose correctly. He also makes a comment about how each decision a person makes has consequences and that people are blind to the reality that death might come for you at any time. This also absolves, in his eyes anyway, Anton of any responsibilities for his actions as he can simply rationalize that the victim simply chose wrong.
    Anton: You've been putting it up your whole life, you just didn't know it.
  • For the Evulz: Either this or It Amused Me. The book describes in the opening, how he allows himself to be arrested, just in order to see if he can escape with his supreme act of will. He can.
  • Genius Bruiser: He is incredibly intelligent, planning tactical entries into his victims' rooms and capable of patching a wound from a shotgun blast.
  • Hates Small Talk: The reason why he nearly kills the gas station attendant. That the accountant in the office avoids this after Anton shoots the Man Who Hired Wells is an argument in favor of his survival.
  • Hero Killer: He kills Carson Wells and Carla Jean.
  • I Gave My Word: Villainous case. He "promises" Moss that Carla Jean will be hurt if he does not comply. He does not, and is killed, and Chigurh retrieves the money, and he still kills Carla Jean just because he gave his word to do so.
  • Implacable Man: Anton Chigurh is a deconstruction of the Implacable Man. He isn't a killer robot from the future, and he can bleed and get hurt, but Anton is still as close to a terminator as you could get in real life. Like a Dostoyevskean character, Anton is completely driven by an idea. In this case, the idea is that every action you take, will ultimately decide your fate. If Anton is hired to kill you, that means that somewhere along the line you have committed an action that warranted it whether or not you realized this at the time, and there is NO amount of begging and pleading that will save you, once you're in Chigurhs sights. Anton simply views himself as fate's messenger, and calmly and methodically makes sure that you realize how poor your decisions were, before he blows your brains out. Compare with Genghis Khan and his "i am the flail of god" quote, to see where he is coming from.
  • Improbable Weapon User: Although he uses ordinary guns, he also inflicts a Boom, Headshot! on a driver with a captive bolt pistol, something normally used for stunning cows. Otherwise, he uses it to blast open locks. He also garrottes a policeman with a pair of handcuffs.
  • Karma Houdini: Partially. He survives, but with a fracture that leaves his arm bone sticking out.
  • Kick the Dog: Frequently.
    • Notably, strangling the deputy to see if he could, killing the driver, and eventually killing Carla Jean.
    • His biggest example, however, would be forcing the coin toss on the gas station owner. Unlike all of his other murders, there was a point, even to somebody with a warped sense of morality like his. Killing the cop was to get free, killing the driver was to take his car, killing the gangsters was to accomplish his goal, killing a random passerby was to stop Moss's escape and even killing Carla Jean was to satisfy a promise that he intended to keep. Unlike all of them, he was perfectly willing to kill the gas station owner because the guy annoyed him and there was nothing to gain from his murder. It's only that warped sense of morality that lets him leave the guy alive.
  • Kick the Son of a Bitch: Shooting Wells in the groin, and also his pursuit of Moss.
  • Know When to Fold 'Em: Chigurh's true strength is his ability to get the element of surprise. When that is no longer in his favor, he's not nearly as effective.
  • Lack of Empathy: Because he's The Sociopath.
  • Neat Freak: Goes out of his way to avoid dirtying himself with blood; when he strangles the deputy he backs his head away when the cuffs begin to cut through his arteries. He also walks around in socks during the motel shooting as he doesn't want to get his cowboy boots dirty. Him checking his boots as he leaves Carla's house is the only way the audience knows he killed her.
  • Nightmare Fuel Station Attendant: He doesn't seem to hate anybody: after eventually conceding a conversation to the literal gas station attendant, he schools him a little on how the world works (from his perspective) - that his threatening of killing him seems of no consequence to him; he greets Carson like an old friend even as he walks towards him with intent to kill him quietly in his room - he knows Carson is aware of this, and he simply wants him to accept it completely; after calmly explaining to Carla Jean why she needs to die, he decides to give her a chance to survive their encounter anyway by presenting the coin toss - even as she refuses, he continues to explain to her his logic (believing that it be all logic) so that she can die with a clear head.
  • Never My Fault: Part of the reason why Anton uses the code and philosophy he does is that, he believes, he doesn't have any say in what he does and thus bears no responsibility for his actions. He uses a coin toss for people he's not contracted to kill yet somehow earn his ire. He also makes sure they call it after it's flipped so there is no way he has any say/action on the outcome and can internalize it as the victim choosing wrong if they fail.
  • No Sense of Humor: Carson Wells names him as this almost verbatim:
    Llewelyn: What's this guy s'posed to be: the ultimate badass?
    Carson: That's not how I'd describe him.
    Llewelyn: Well, how would you describe him?
    Carson: (considers) I'd say he doesn't have a sense of humour.
  • Professional Killer: His profession, though he is much more than that.
  • Psycho for Hire: Hired by the the man who hires Wells to kill him after Chigurh becomes rogue.
  • Race Lift: Or at least implied Fake Nationality. In the book Chigurh's nationality is ambiguous. In the movie he's played by Spanish Javier Bardem and most assume him to be Mexican.
  • Rogue Agent: After killing the drug executives accompanying him to the crime scene with the Mexicans.
  • Scarily Competent Tracker: Not so much because he's relying on the tracker in the money suitcase. Though even without it, he manages to locate Moss, Wells, Carla AND the money.
  • '70s Hair: His unusual haircut was based on a photo from the 70s. As the film takes place in 1980, it is somewhat justified.
  • Slasher Smile: Has one when he's choking his arresting officer to death.
  • The Sociopath: He is such a potent one that he's basically a walking force of unstoppable evil. Real life psychological professionals consider him the most accurate depiction of a psychopath ever put to film.
  • Soft-Spoken Sadist: See Creepy Monotone above.
  • The Spook: Absolutely nothing is known about him, except for, maybe, his name. This is a habit he's cultivated as after he gets in a car accident which pops his bone out of his arm, he pays the kids who help him in order to keep them quiet.
  • The Stoic: He's not one for emotions.
  • Übermensch: He has his own set of moral codes.
  • Villainous Breakdown: While he can't express it with any emotion, per usual, he is actually shaken by Carla's claim, in both the book and the movie, that it's his own choice to kill rather than something he is required to do by fate. In the book, he feels the need to pontificate at length as to why his way of thinking is right and justified before he finally kills her. In the film, it may have bothered him enough that he didn't notice the other car come in before it t-bones him.
  • Weapon of Choice: His captive bolt pistol and oxygen canister. As well as his silenced shotgun.
  • What the Hell Is That Accent?: Javier Bardem intentionally muddied his natural Spanish accent to make Chigurh's nationality more ambiguous.

    Sheriff Ed Tom Bell
Played By: Tommy Lee Jones

The elderly sheriff of the unspecified county where the events of the novel takes place, and the narrator of the story.

  • Despair Event Horizon: After the death of Moss, and presumably Carla Jean, although we don't see him react to it, he retires finding himself incapable of reacting to all the pointless violence around him.
  • Revolvers Are Just Better: In the book, he claims that he prefers Colt Single Action Armies chambered in .44-40 Winchester.
  • The Sheriff: And has the badge to prove it. He retires, though, after the deaths of Llewelyn and Carla Jean Moss, unable to adapt to the current world of lawlessness.
  • Took a Level in Cynic: After the events of the story, he finds himself struggling in a morally grey world, causing him to give up and retire.
  • When I Was Your Age...: Does not say it outright, but he laments all the violence spreading in Texas, when compared to in his youth.

    Carla Jean Moss
Played By: Kelly Macdonald

The wife of Llewelyn Moss, and involuntary object of a wide range of problems caused by his ordeals.

    Carson Wells
Played By: Woody Harrelson

A hitman hired by the same drug runners that previously hired Chigurh, in order to track down the money and kill Chigurh.

    Man Who Hires Wells 

Played By: Stephen Root

An enigmatic middle manager for the Matacumbe Petroleum Group who hires Anton Chigurh to recover the money, and Carson Wells when Chigurh goes rogue.

  • Contract on the Hitman: Hires Carson Wells to kill Chigurh after the latter goes rogue, but it backfires.
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: He is this combined with Corrupt Hick. He has a nice office in a Houston highrise, from which he apparently runs the day-to-day operations of a Texan drug cartel.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Shows shades of this in his interactions with Carson Wells.
  • Greater-Scope Villain: The money Moss finds and that Chigurh is after belongs to his organization. In the book, however, he is only middle management. After killing him, Chigurh returns the money to his boss, an even more mysterious "Greatest Scope Villain".
  • No Name Given: We never learn his name. Or anything else about him.
  • Oh, Crap!: The look on his face when Chigurh bursts through the door says it all.
  • Properly Paranoid: Gives transponders to both Chigurh and the Mexicans, which backfires spectacularly when Chigurh takes offense at this and kills him. Also, his office is only accessible by entering a secret code into the elevator, which changes after every use. In the film version, he keeps a pistol in his desk drawer.
  • Small Role, Big Impact: Only appears in two scenes, and in the second one he gets blasted in the throat with birdshot before he can have any lines, but his actions have a large impact on the plot.
  • The Syndicate: Runs one in Texas that does business with their counterparts south of the border.

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