Dane DeHaan’s 10 Best Performances, Ranked from Roadie to Apex Predator

     August 25, 2020


It’s been an absolute pleasure to revisit Dane DeHaan‘s filmography, comprising some 30-plus roles on the big and small screens over the last 20 years. And I’m not just saying that because we both happen to be from the Lehigh Valley originally (though it doesn’t hurt; I love to see an Eastern PA kid do well). DeHaan has checked a bunch of boxes with his roles over the last decade — creepy characters on Law & Order: SVU and in two TV movies; a recurring role on True Blood; a music video or two for world-famous bands; supporting roles in films from cinematic masters like John Sayles and Steven Spielberg to name but two; and major roles in biopics, original thrillers, dramatic period pieces, and indie flicks aplenty — but he always brings an compelling energy and charisma to his work that makes every picture a pleasure.

However, not all roles are created equally and not all performances can be better than the rest. It’s with that in mind, and in honor of DeHaan’s starring role opposite Maika Monroe on Quibi’s episodic thriller The Stranger, that we took at look at all of DeHaan’s roles to date in order to pick the best of the best. Sure, some of them will include titles that he earned awards recognition for, while others you may never have even heard of; I certainly hadn’t before I watched some of these. But it’s a testament to DeHaan’s acting ability that each and every once of these performances was engaging, regardless of how compelling (or not) the rest of the narrative was around him.

So what follows is our subjective ranking of the 10 Best Performances of Dane DeHaan, not necessarily the 10 best movies or TV shows he’s been in. But even his early roles are worth a watch, like 2010’s Amigo, John Sayles’ movie in which, even though DeHaan didn’t get a name-check by the late Roger Ebert in his review, his performance left an impression: “One of [the soldiers] has an awkwardly goofy flirtation with a local girl that I first thought was just plain dopey, but to which I eventually softened.” Yup, that’s DeHaan, all right. You should also pop in to see his part to play in Lincoln, Devil’s Knot, his voice work in the English-language release of Ballerina (later retitled Leap! in the U.S. release where Nat Wolff replaced him for some reason; Hollywood is weird, man), and even as the lovably naive and relatively innocent Cricket Pate in the gritty, bloody, and amoral Lawless from John Hillcoat. It goes to show that DeHaan can make the most out of any material he’s given, but it’s the following 10 performances that really let his talent shine.