HomeCultureSouthern Bright Spark Scoot McNairy’s Top Performances

Southern Bright Spark Scoot McNairy’s Top Performances

It seems the South is just the perfect setting for birthing unconventional character actors who teem with personality. We’ve previously written about the rise of Walton Goggins. This time, though, we’re looking at the Dallas-born Scoot McNairy. Everything might be bigger in Texas, but McNairy is definitely one of the current kings of understated performances in Hollywood. He first started acting in his early twenties, after no formal training, and soon found himself being cast in a number of commercials. After then appearing in several small television roles, the Texan made the jump to movies, with bit parts in titles such as 2005’s “Herbie Fully Loaded.”

While these earlier roles were in movies that weren’t exactly exceptional, he still managed to always bring a simmering energy to the parts, like his characters were a coiled-up spring that might just shoot off at any time, but never quite did. This exceptional talent to be able to convincingly play downtrodden men who don’t quite fit into the world around them eventually caught the eyes of those who craft quality film and television, and McNairy hasn’t looked back since.

Here’s our pick of his top performances that showcase the bright spark of Scoot McNairy.

Gone Girl

This tiny role perfectly encapsulates exactly why McNairy is such a phenomenal actor. Director David Fincher’s “Gone Girl,” which came out in 2014 to great praise, was carried by its two main leads Ben Affleck and Rosamund Park. However, McNairy’s part in the psychological thriller is small but massively important.

Featured near the end of the film, McNairy plays a previous boyfriend of the missing wife, who Affleck’s character gets in touch with, to better understand her past. During their strained conversation, it becomes clear that the missing wife may not be as innocent as it first had appeared. Nevertheless, the excellence of McNairy’s acting means that there is a quiet desperation to everything he is saying, and you never quite know if you can fully believe his character.

Killing Them Softly

This 2012 neo-noir crime movie has managed to stay under the radar a bit, despite being made by acclaimed director Andrew Dominik and starring Brad Pitt in the leading role. “Killing Them Softly” follows Dominik’s earlier work by being immensely visually stimulating but also having fantastic writing that makes the characters feel completely believable. Pitt is great as a hit-man for hire who is aghast, not at what he does, but at what he sees as the continuing decay of The American Dream happening in the society that surrounds him.

McNairy plays a low-life dog-napper who spends his days cruising the streets for pooches that he can sell. He teams up with one of his equally scumbag friends to rob a gambling ring that is frequented by some shady members of society. After a robbery scene that is somehow both funny and tense (featuring a comically short sawn-off shotgun) it soon transpires that the gambling ring was definitely not one that you should rob, as it was protected by the mob. They then hire Pitt’s hit-man to dispose of the two robbers, which leads to a high-stakes game of cat and mouse.

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True Detective

The seminal HBO TV show “True Detective” has been a captivating insight into the damaged minds of jaded police officers who make it their life’s work to track down twisted murderers. McNairy stars in the third season, which takes place in the Ozarks, over three separate time periods. He expertly plays a grief-stricken father of a pair of missing children, who never return after going out to play with their friends.

As the narrative twists and turns, McNairy gets to stew in his despair, reflecting a devastating impression of a broken person living through every parent’s worst fear. Whenever he’s on screen, it really is a reminder of just how great the show can be, and the good news for fans is that there’s rumored to be the fourth season in development, as was reported on Screen Rant.

Featured image from hbo.com.

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