Cormac McCarthy made his screenwriting debut this weekend with The Counselor. The dark, bloody, and polarizing drama about a drug trafficking escapade that goes terribly wrong stars a gaggle of Hollywood elite, including the chameleon actor Javier Bardem. If you've already managed to see the film (bravo!) or at least caught a glimpse of the confounding trailer, you may have surmised that Bardem plays the crazed, flamboyant villain.
What's his criminal tell? Why, his hair, of course. For this film, the actor's jet-black coif is sculpted into an aggressive spike. The jarring porcupine look is almost comical, and yet, horribly frightening. Which is why it fits in nicely with the Bardem Canon of Character Hair.
If you're not familiar with the Spanish import's films of late, he has a habit of transforming the low moral standards of his maniacal characters into a range of memorable hairstyles — from the tucked bob in No Country for Old Men to creepy Ken Barbie in Skyfall. If one of these characters were to pop off of the screen and onto the street you were walking on, you'd no doubt run screaming in the opposite direction.
Which is why we thought we'd rank a selection of Bardem's characters against their hairstyles to see if there's an actual correlation to craziness. Judge for yourself:
Now, let's take a closer look at the various roles.
Juan Antonio, Vicky Cristina Barcelona (2008)
Character craziness: 1
Hair craziness: 1
The 2008 Woody Allen film positioned Bardem as an irresistible artist with adorably shaggy and normal hair who is dealing with one too many women. Sexy, yes. Crazy, no.
Ramón Sampedro, The Sea Inside (2005)
Character craziness: 2.5
Hair craziness: 2
There is nothing inherently crazy about Bardem's hair here, though it is extreme for the actor,who has luscious, dark-brown locks. It's also important to note that Sampredo was a real person — a quadriplegic who fought a 28-year campaign to win the right to end his own life with dignity (he did, in 1998). I gave Sampredo one notch up on the craziness scale only because he was a bit of a risk-taker whose dangerous dive off of a cliff near his home in Spain was what paralyzed him in the first place. Diving off cliffs is not something perfectly sane people choose to do.
Florentino Ariza, Love in a Time of Cholera (2007)
Character craziness: 3
Hair craziness: 3
What we have here is a frilly butt-cut. This dry middle part works on no one, not even Brad Pitt. So unappealing is the look that you'd have to wonder if the man sporting it even cares about his appearance at all. And, let's be honest, a little vanity is part of a healthy, moral diet. And yet, this particular, slightly creepy cut is ideal for Bardem's character. Ariza, who is spurned by his love, vows to be a virgin for life only to go on a sexual rampage, accumulating more than 600 willing conquests. So, yeah, I'd say the hair and the character have a certain flirtatious flair that leaves a bad taste in your mouth.
Lorenzo Casamares, Goya's Ghosts (2006)
Character craziness: 4
Hair craziness: 5
I have never seen this movie. But one look at those close-cropped bangs and it's obvious Casamares is up to no good. (Indisputable rule: Never trust a man with bangs, unless he is a Beatle.) According to the surely reliable Wikpedia summary, Casamares is about as unsightly as that forehead scruff. He's an unordained Spanish priest who, despite his allegiance to a higher power, is stubbornly dedicated to ruining the lives of pretty much everyone he meets. He switches allegiances from Spain to France, plots to have women sold into a slavery of sorts, and has an illicit child with a delirious prisoner. He ends up dying for his sins, but really only because he was too prideful to admit he was wrong. Ugh.
Anton Chugurh, No Country for Old Men (2007)
Character craziness: 6
Hair craziness: 10
I know what you're thinking, this guy is only a 6 on the crazy scale? But lest we forget, this is a comparative exercise. Among the Bardem characters, Chugurh is actually not the most unstable. Sure, he stitches his own wound on the fly and is undoubtedly heartless. But he also allows fate to play a role in his victims' lives and is, frankly, one of the most dedicated and hardworking hit men out there. It's almost admirable. That hair, however, is nothing short of loony and should be taken as a warning to steer clear.
Reiner, The Counselor (2013)
Character craziness: 7
Hair craziness: 7
Reiner is, according to Wikipedia, a "charismatic entrepreneur by day and an underground drug kingpin by night." Which is exactly what that hairstyle says. While Reiner's particular level of violent insanity is still to be determined (again, haven't seen it), I think it's safe to say that his flamboyant hair and style are covering up some deep-seated insecurities, which is not a quality that works well for drug kingpins. Indeed, what this hair tells me is: "I carry big guns and I will use them, probably while high, and as a violent expression of the emotions I can't otherwise convey."
Solís, Alacran Enamorado (2013)
Character craziness: 8
Hair craziness: 2
Solís is really the only dissenter from the group. Again, I have not actually seen this movie and even the trailer is in Spanish, but just knowing the very basics of Bardem's character — Solís is the leader of a violent and fanatical neo-Nazi group — is enough to tip him over the edge into terrifying nut job. Though you wouldn't necessarily know that on first glance, because he looks like Don Draper's European cousin.
Raoul Silva, Skyfall (2012)
Character craziness: 10
Hair craziness: 10
There's no denying that blonde is not Bardem's color. This looks like a mistake, and not in the bad-dye-job way, but in the I-like-to-electrocute-myself-for-fun way. It's downright creepy and the matching eyebrows aren't helping any either. Silva's look drains him of any natural coloring just as his singularly vengeful ways have drained him of any moral ties.