Paul Dano is one of the most interesting actors in mainstream films. His talent is unmatched and he delivers in every role he has been cast in. Dano is a very versatile and profound actor. He gives himself to every role, portraying every character with a certain touch of his own. Dano truthfully understands the craft of telling a story through the characters he plays, and it’s evident that throughout his career he’s mastered the craft. Dano is making buzz for his most recent role in The Batman as The Riddler. He has so many other good roles that are so much more profound and hit so much harder. It’s only right that there be a ranking of the best ones.
6. Calvin Weir-Fields in Ruby Sparks
This is a more contemporary role for Dano. As such, it’s a little lacking in substance. Dano doesn’t deliver a role that’s extremely impressive; however, it’s still a loveable role and film as a whole because of Dano’s performance within it. If you are new to this actor, this is a great movie to start with.
5. Eli Sunday in There Will Be Blood
One of the more impressive roles he’s had, Dano does a lot with a relatively small role. He puts forth a very good effort which amplifies the performance of Daniel Day-Lewis to great extent. Dano amplifies the audience's experience in this movie by making other actors' performances shine.
4. Alex Jones in Prisoners
This is another role that acts as a backbone to other actors' performances. Dano is believable in this role in which he plays a likely suspect for a kidnapping. He passes perfectly in this role and makes the audience skeptical of his legitimacy as a suspect. He makes the story more believable and pushes the action forward with his performance. The audience is led to believe that Dano’s character is the culprit, which spirals the story and makes the movie more interesting to the audience.
3. Hank in Swiss Army Man
Another role on this list that is based on someone making a companion up in his head, Dano delivers in this performance. It’s a believable story, centered around a man that is stranded on an island and imagines a dead man is alive and his best friend. You can feel the desperation in Dano’s acting and the horror is amplified in the realistic display that Dano performs in this movie. This is one of his better roles and adds a lot to his filmography as a whole.
2. The Riddler in The Batman
Dano gives life to the iconic Batman supervillain that people previously thought to be tarnished by Jim Carrey in the 80s. This is a more realistic approach to the character and it’s a testament to Dano’s ability to play a psychopathic killer. Dano makes this movie feel less like a superhero movie and more like an investigative thriller in the way he plays the iconic villain. In this revision, Dano makes a claim to be able to provide deep contextual character analysis in mainstream movies and roles. Again, Dano makes the performances by other actors that much better by how he performs in the role. This is a must-watch, especially because Dano does such a good job with it.
1. Dwayne Hoover in Little Miss Sunshine
This is one of Dano’s most lovable and nostalgic roles he’s had to date. He completely takes the hearts of audiences due to his wonderful display in this all-time classic. Dano hardly speaks in this film, but it is a timeless role nonetheless because he does such an admirable job with the role. The character arc in this movie would be nothing without Dano fulfilling that role and doing what he does best. This is impressive not only because he makes such an impact on the film as a whole without saying a word, but also because he’s so young in this film. You wouldn’t expect such a young actor to perform so well, but young Dano delivers.