The Bourne Legacy opened this week with Jeremy Renner taking over the reins from Matt Damon as rogue super spy, David Bourne. Renner caught our eye with his mesmerizing performances in The Hurt Locker and The Town, both of which got him nominated for Oscars. But he has plenty of lesser-known titles to his credit. If you’re like me, you knew some of these movies before going into The Hurt Locker. Others not so much, but they’re worth a look if you like Renner, whose ability to simultaneously blend into a cast while delivering stand out performances is a rare trait. And, when Renner turns it up, watch out.
The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford
Great movie and great performances all around. However, Renner’s introspective supporting role as a cousin of James and one of the more morally minded members of the notorious James Gang proves pivotal in this pensive drama.
Renner inhabits the role of a sexist Minnesota iron mine supervisor who conspires against a female employee (Charlize Theron) working to stop sexual harassment in the workplace. You completely buy his bigotry, no questions.
A little precursor to his recent action flicks. Here he caught audience’s attention opposite Colin Farrell and Samuel L Jackson, playing an ousted member of the Los Angeles Police Department's S.W.A.T team.
Renner accomplishes the impossible here by making us feel sympathy for Jeffery Dahmer. His complex portrayal of the infamous serial killer is stellar in this strange, dreamlike biopic. While this is not a great flick by any means, the pain, torment, mental anguish and even sick humor, come through via Renner’s expressions of dark loneliness. You have to wonder from where Renner draws his inspiration.
A Little Trip to Heaven
A husband (Renner) and wife (Julia Stiles) tangle with an insurance adjuster (Forest Whitaker) over her dead brother's million-dollar insurance policy in Baltasar Kormákur’s (Contraband/Jar City) weirdly paced thriller. Renner steals the show as a sadistic creep. In just a few scenes, he proves a force with which to be reckoned.
The Heart is Deceitful Above
Director Asia Argento’s sadomasochistic take on life, love, death, sex and motherhood. Renner steals the one big scene in which he appears. (OK, I have to admit it! I forgot he was even in this, and I don’t remember anything about his character, but I saw it once—honest—and I KNOW he was awesome, OK?)