The greatest alternative movie theory of all time is MY OWN. You’ve seen this film I trust.
If you haven’t there are major spoilers beyond: DO NOT ENTER. Now then, I want you to take a long look at that poster because the art was not formulated by accident. Cormac McCarthy, who wrote the novel, and the Coens, who made the film, knew what they were doing and gave you nice hints to the true meaning of the film. Specifically, the true identity of Anton Chigur, the Mexican hit man with the American accent who chases a right time-right-place deer hunter across the country. Why? To retrieve 2.4 million dollars that said deer hunter happened to find in a dead man’s satchel at the scene of a massive Cartel drug deal gone very, just very bad. To the point: drug lords kill each other-bystander finds cash-is pursued by hitman to retrieve money.
It’s a simple straight-forward plot, but it is not a simple straightforward movie. Who is Anton Chighur? The relentless killer with a set of logical protocols that kinda make sense…but do they? He flips a coin to see who he’ll kill. He’s graced with an otherworldly luck…or premonition. He possesses uncanny insight into people he never met, what they’ll do, where they’ll go, where they hide stolen Uzis.
Could be Chighur is just a great and experienced detective? That doesn’t explain his diabolical knowledge that Moss is waiting, armed, behind the hotel room door, where his shadow seems to see what the audience sees and moves on. Or how he can kill, kill, kill in the open without arousing suspicion. Or how he disappears from a crime scene once the sheriff enters.
But I have an explanation. Anton Chighur is not a man. Anton Chighur is none other than Mictlan, the Aztec God of Death.
(and I’m not joking)
A few things need be known about Aztec gods:
- They are the size of a normal man and appear as a normal man.
- They can be injured but not killed.
- Though they often walk amongst humans but to behold one and know who he was meant death.
Now, what you need to know about Mictlan, specifically:
- He lives ‘In the North’.
- He knows the thoughts of man.
- He can let a man live or die, and he sometimes makes a game of it.
- He is the patron of goldsmiths and any who steal their gold will suffer his wrath.
- During his rituals he is offered ‘capulque’ a white sap beverage known as the ‘milk of the gods’.
- He is accompanied by dogs.
Also, his Idols have a hole in the center of the forehead where one can put offerings and sweet-smelling incense. His idols are the only ones with this feature as, according to only one source (kinda iffy, I’d get more but that would take a trip to the library), his human sacrifices were killed by hammering a spike through the forehead.
You see now why I think this character is Mictlan.
First, why I think he’s an Aztec God in general and not a ghost or an abstract incarnation of death.
…injured but not killed…
He serves up hot, steaming servings of Dead to any who gets in his way and while Moss catches him in the thigh and the film ends with him walking away from a car wreck with a broken arm, the way he deals with injury and sews himself up can only shout three things 1. Special forces of a kind and resilience unseen on Earth 2: Aztec God. 3. Cyborg killing machine ala James Cameron.
…to behold one means death…
After he’s appraised of the situation by two Cartel cleaners who, obviously, know who he is, he inexplicably kills them.
He kills Carson unceremoniously after a short chat wherein we see that Carson knows who he is.
When he storms the businessman’s office, killing him, the hapless gent in the chair opposite asks “Are you going to shoot me.” to which Anton replies, “That depends. Do you see me?”
All the roads that point to Mictlan:
…The Cartels worship him….
More specifically they worship his wife Santa Muerte, who guards the underworld while he gallivants on the Earth. The cartels are the true equivalent of the Aztecs, witch-kings with a pile of murdered corpses to their credit who rule unopposed, all they’re missing is a pyramid.
When Carson spits, ‘Go to hell’ our friend shrugs and says ‘Okay.’; because Mictlan is back and forth between the Aztec underworld and Earth, the Realm of Men.
…He lives in the North. …
North of the rio to be exact and for a Mexican there’s a most noticeable Yankee flattening of his accent. They never state that he actually is Mexican or lives south of the border. We see him first at the shoot-out location and he doesn’t cross the river to pursue Moss when Moss is convalescing in a Mexican hospital.
...He knows the thoughts of man….
Every single move Moss makes is predicted and countered in real time, Anton even looks under his trailer for the stolen gun and Moss’ sly air vent shuffle of the money is predicted by Chighur.
…He makes a game of death…-
“Well, I have to stand to know what I’m gonna win.”
“Everything. Call it.”
A coin flip is Chighur’s method of making a game out of death, Mictlan used a kind of Aztec dice.
…he pursues thieves that steal from his worshipers…
Obvious and really obvious.
…At his rituals he is offered the ‘milk of the gods‘…
One of the most perplexing scenes is when Chighur enters the now empty trailer of Llywelyn Moss and his wife and pours himself…a glass of milk. I was, like, wuh? But the milk is the key to his divinity, as all Aztec gods were offered ‘Capulque’, ‘milk of the gods’. This scene only makes sense if, when irritated with a disappeared Moss, Chighur doesn’t go to Moss’ fridge and pour himself a tall glass of Moo-juice for a, until now, unexplained reason.
…He is accompanied by dogs…
The Aztecs believed that dogs would guide you to the underworld across a river where you would sustain years of trials before simply disappearing. I believe when Moss returned to give water to the dying Mexican he metaphorically entered the underworld, he was then pursued by dogs across a river where this patient hunter calmly t swiftly blew the water out of the chamber of his stolen .45 and killed one of Mictlan’s dogs as it lept in snarling rage.
…his idols have a hole in the center of the forehead…
And a gas operated cattle-punch is gently placed on the forehead of Chighur’s victims before the THWAP! of death comes his way. And a note on the cattle-punch as weapon, it is a weapon of pure hubris, in a world of guns, THIS is how he chooses to enter. Someone unafraid of death…not because of courage, but because of knowledge that he couldn’t die…could be the only reason.
All in all, I believe the movie is the story of Llewlyn Moss trying to cheat Mictlan and trying to escape from the underworld, having slain one of his dogs, stolen his worshippers gold and weapons and defied the almighty power of the King of the Dead. No wonder he was so pissed he paid a visit on his wife, just one death wouldn’t satisfy his rage.
And the Aztecs worshiped this guy…SHEESH!