These Show-Stopping Performances Prove What Child Stars Can Do

These Show-Stopping Performances Prove What Child Stars Can Do

In Logan, Dafne Keen is a feral force of nature, a terrifying combo of blood, steel, and adorableness. She's a miniature murderer with adamantium claws, who sports cheap sunglasses and decapitates fools who get in her way. This character is absolutely ferocious, more like a wolverine than the titular X-Man himself. But even though she slices and dices her fair share of villains, Keen's character is still a little girl, and when she's not butchering bad guys, she's reading comic books, trying to go back and forth on a kiddie ride, and hoping to find a family.

Directed by James Mangold, Logan focuses on the last adventure of the Wolverine (Hugh Jackman), as he's forced to defend a mutant girl named Laura (Keen) from a psycho scientist and his gang of mercenaries. The movie is part Western, part road trip, and totally Keen's show, as she gives Jackman everything he can handle. (Even in her audition, this little kid went toe-to-toe with the Hollywood vet, asking to go off-script and more than handling her share of intense improv.) Making the whole thing even more impressive, Keen spends a huge chunk of the film just growling, but when she finally speaks, she switches back forth from Spanish to English, keeping Jackman on his toes in two different languages.

But while Keen definitely nailed the animal intensity, there's a lot of humanity here too. As pointed out by film critic Amy Nicholson, Keen's character "feels real, even when she's sucking bullets out of her own arm. Though she barely speaks...she's still an ordinary, obnoxious girl who won't stop screwing with the door locks in the getaway car." And for all her snarling, Keen will rip your heart out when she gives a tearful monologue from the movie Shane. It's a powerhouse performance in one of the all-time best superhero films, and honestly, we'd love it if somebody made a movie all about this cute killer mutant.


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