He stands on the other side of the gas-station counter, his laughable bowl-cut hair belied by a pair of eyes emptier than the high desert behind him. "What's the most you ever lost on a coin toss?" he deadpans.
Cormac McCarthy's No Country For Old Men, adapted for the big screen to a movie by the same name in 2007, introduced the terrifyingly implacable character of Anton Chigurh. Played by Javier Bardem, the relentless hitman is particularly memorable for his strange haircut, his dead eyes and his silenced 12-gauge Remington 11-87 shotgun. For this week's Throwback Thursday, we're examining the prop shotgun Bardem carried, currently on display at the NRA National Firearms Museum's "Hollywood Guns" exhibit.
In the movie, the Chigurh character is persistent, emotionless and resistant to pain and injury beyond normal human limits—he's essentially a man-shaped hole in the fabric of reality. So it's well that the man who isn't really a man is carrying a gun that isn't really a gun. That's right...that Remington 11-87 isn't possible. First, it's an anachronism: Although the movie is set in 1980, the Remington 11-87 wasn't introduced until 1987. Additionally, although suppressors for shotguns have been commercially available for about two years, there weren't any when the movie was made, let alone when the movie was set. The Coen brothers had the prop gun Bardem used fitted with the "silencer" seen on the screen. It doesn't work, naturally; the "silencer" obscures the gun's barrel, so this prop could not ever actually be fired.
No Country For Old Men earned four Oscars, one of which went to Bardem for his spine-chilling performance as Chigurh. This isn't what most would call a "family" picture, though—this movie really earns its "R" rating. Happily, the NRA National Firearms Museum's display firearm we're highlighting today, as well as all of the others in the "Hollywood Guns" display, definitely count as family-friendly entertainment. The NRA National Firearms Museumis open 364 days a year, except Christmas Day, and is free of charge.