'No Country for Old Men' at 10: Everything you need to know about Javier Bardem's killer haircut

Joal Ryan
Contributor
Javier Bardem in No Country for Old Men. (Photo: Miramax/Paramount)

There’s one good thing about a terrible hairstyle like the demented Buster Brown bob modeled by Javier Bardem in No Country for Old Men: It doesn’t age poorly. In fact, it doesn’t age at all. It’s just as terrible as it ever was.

Reflecting on the 10th anniversary of the film — and the ‘do — Bardem recently told Vulture that the style he disparaged on his Oscar-winning night as “one of the most horrible haircuts in history” still ranked as “the worst haircut [he’s] ever had.”

A 2015 episode of Family Guy got right at the style’s timelessness, with a No Country for Old Men-era Bardem (voiced by Jon Daly) asking patriarch Peter Griffin to give him a haircut that was “from both the future and the past.”

Watch: The Javier Bardem haircut scene from ‘Family Guy’:

But it’s no joke, really.

Released on Nov. 9, 2007, Joel and Ethan Coen’s bloody Texas tale, adapted from the Cormac McCarthy novel of the same name, and ostensibly about the pursuit of a bag of money, drew immediate praise as a “near masterpiece” and went on to win four Oscars: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay, and Best Supporting Actor. Bardem claimed the latter for his performance as Anton Chigurh, an unstoppable hitman — a flesh-and-blood T-1000 who favors earth tones, lets the flip of a coin decide life-and-death matters, and, of course, sports that hair.

Watch: Javier Bardem bemoan his haircut in his Oscar speech:

At the 2007 New York Film Festival, as the film was embarking on awards season, Joel Coen said the Anton look was taken from a photo in a book on border-town Mexican brothels of the 1970s. (Though Coen doesn’t mention the title by name, he appears to be referencing Boystown: La Zona de Tolerancia, published in 2000; this blog thread from 2008 tried to figure out exactly which picture was referenced.)

“I was just the victim,” Bardem told the festival audience that night, establishing his pattern of washing his hands of the hair matter.

The credit for bringing the hair to the screen belongs to Paul LeBlanc, whose long list of hair-and-makeup credits includes Return of the Jedi and Amadeus, for which he won an Oscar.

LeBlanc told the London Guardian in 2008 that he drew his inspiration from the Crusades, when the body count was high, “and this was a typical haircut.”

The point, however, was not to be typical; the point was to be timeless.

During the Oscars, Jon Stewart referred to Bardem’s  No Country for Old Men ‘do as “Hannibal Lecter’s murderousness with Dorothy Hamill’s wedge-cut.” (Photo: Miramax/Paramount)

“It could be either 14th century or the 1970s,” LeBlanc said the same year in Canada’s Globe and Mail.

The film itself is set in 1980.

In the mid-aughts when the film was shot, the hairstyle’s flat, Seinfeld-showerhead appearance drew stares off the set. “I had to live with that! It wasn’t a wig,” Bardem vented to Vulture. “You go to the market to buy your milk and people get weird, like really scared.”

Fear, alas, is timeless too. To watch No Country for Old Men today is to find yourself taken into the Coens’ barren world — and repelled by Bardem’s incongruous, innocuous mop of Anton Chigurh hair.

Watch the trailer for ‘No Country for Old Men’:

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