Most unnerving aspect to this screen villain is that his motives are beyond reasoning... rooted in principal and philosophy. Like the Terminator he can not be reasoned nor bargained with. He feels no pity or remorse and absolutely will not stop until he gets his man... or woman. Hard to stop a force like that right? Unless it is not human. Rather a personification of fear or crime, as I'd like to believe. Some argue, he represents time or death... but the clue to figuring out what he is comes in the scene where...
the protagonist of the movie, Llewelyn Moss was gunned down at the motel. The sheriff, Ed Tom Bell arrives a minute too late as the band of Mexican gangsters (the cartel) escape in a pickup leaving one behind injured in the motel parking lot. You know it's the cartel because an uzi is left behind nearby the executed protagonist.
How does that equate to the cartel being Anton Chigurh? The answer comes several scenes later when the sheriff returns to the crime scene and musters the energy to go into the motel unit expecting Anton to be waiting for him inside. The directors make sure to include a shot of Anton behind the door as the sheriff's hand creeps to the doorknob. When the door swings in, no one is there. Was he a ghost? No. It was only the sheriff's fear... the fear of the lunatic, mythical hitman, Anton Chigurh. And just like the cartel, no one knows who they are, yet they are feared like the bogeyman. They can be anywhere at anytime to snuff you out. Once you fall prey to this mysticism, then you've lost your edge--and to an aging local sheriff, there's no country for old men.
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