In my opinion, Paul Dano is one of the most talented actors working today. I knew he’d go on to big thing after seeing him in ‘Little Miss Sunshine’, and even though I haven’t seen all of Dano’s filmography, this is my personal top 5 of his performances:
5. Ruby Sparks (2012)
In ‘Ruby Sparks’, Dano plays a one hit wonder author who suffers from writer’s block and begins to see one of his literary creations come to life. It’s a wonderful display of a man’s descent into madness and features another classic Dano meltdown. Also showing comic acting chops, Dano shows once again that he’s not just a one dimensional actor.
4. There Will Be Blood (2007)
This is one annoying guy. Dano plays Eli (and Paul, briefly) Sunday, a church pastor. Dano is excellent at subtlety aggravating Day-Lewis’ Daniel Plainview and his fear shown in the last scene is clearly a real one. Dano’s creation is vile in the best kind of way.
3. 12 Years a Slave (2013)
One of the most underrated performances of the film, Dano doesn’t feature in the film very much but is so horrible and disgusting that his character’s evil, ugly face will still haunt long after the film has finished. It’s a wonder how he wasn’t praised as highly as Fassbender because he is honestly excellent.
2. Prisoners (2013)
Dano’s portrayal of alleged child abducter Alex Jones is perfect. The film’s sinister and creepy tone can mostly be accreditited to him. Dano is a master of making his fellow actors react and does so brilliantly here as his character is socially awkward and on the verge of being a mentally disabled man. It’s a great performance by a man who keeps surprising us with how many layers of excellence he has.
1. Little Miss Sunshine (2006)
The performance that kick-started Dano’s career. In ‘Little Miss Sunshine, Dano plays Dwayne, a teenager who has taken a vow of silence until he reaches his dream of becoming a pilot. His silence is golden and his interaction with the other characters is sublime. Socially awkward Dwayne shows us that Dano can add so much depth to a character that may not be as fleshed as others. Another famous Dano meltdown adds to the incredible emotion Dano can portray, and that’s why this is number 1.
What are your favourite Paul Dano performances? What other actor would you like me to do a list for?
– Iwan D