Spotlight On – Jeremy Renner Part 1 (The Hurt Locker & Dahmer)

This is a new column to the website, which I have been planning on for quite sometime. Simply titled ‘Spotlight On’ it will feature a range of actors/actresses, film makers and franchises. I will be looking at different things with this column, and for the very first series of ‘Spotlight On’ I have decided to take a look at the career of Jeremy Renner.

Spotlight On – Jeremy Renner

Part 1: The Hurt Locker & Dahmer

So I am fairly new on the Renner bandwagon, I had seen some of his work before, however I hadn’t taken real notice of him until I saw The Hurt Locker. By the end of the film, I was completely focused on him and I had to look him up and find out more. I was shocked to find out, I had seen him before. He wasn’t the lead though, and perhaps having that lead role in this film made him really stand out for me. I was almost disappointed I hadn’t really taken notice of him before, I had been missing out and it was time to catch up on this fantastic actor. I found a film which he starred in, and from the cover I wasn’t sure what to think. Since direct to DVD serial killer films aren’t exactly quality, I wasn’t sure what to think of Renner playing Jeffrey Dahmer in the film simply titled Dahmer. I think the amazing happened, not only was this actually a good film, and not an exploitation one, but this man was simply fantastic in the role. His performance in The Hurt Locker was not a one off, and he proved to me with these two films he was someone I needed to see more of.
The Hurt Locker for me is a fantastic film, I am a fan of Katherine Bigelow, and I was behind most of his Oscar wins. This film saw Jeremy receive a Best Actor Nomination, and I certainly agree with that. The role of Sergeant First Class William James is perfectly suited to Renner, he hits all the right notes. This is a guy who is cocky, yet he has this charisma about him, you can’t help but like the guy, despite the tactics he uses aren’t exactly the safest. As his character says “If I’m gonna die, I want to die comfortable.” I think we can all understand that, and in saying that his actions just automatically seem justified. I still stand by saying that this is one of the most intense films I have ever seen, and that is easily thanks in part to Renner’s performance under the fantastic direction of Bigelow. I stated in my January published review of the film: “Then we have for me the stand out with Jeremy Renner as William, the new guy to the team who seems rather wreckless and of course has his issues with JT. Renner certainly gave one of my favourite performances from 2009, he played all the right notes and just seemed to fit this character perfectly.” I still stand firmly by that, and The Hurt Locker is certainly the film I would recommend to Renner newbies. If you want to see this man in action, this is where you want to be looking.

Dahmer as I mentioned earlier is easily one of the best direct to DVD serial killer films I have seen. This is mostly due to the fact this isn’t an exploitative piece, this film actually aims to show the man and what might have driven him to do the things that he did. Renner is in most of the scenes in this film, he makes this character interesting and the film worth watching. He gives an amazing performance, something so quiet yet so crazy that it all works perfectly together.
Here is an exert from my Dahmer review, which was also written in January of this year: “This film works because of the casting, Jeremy Renner is simply flawless as Dahmer. He brings a strange innocence to the character while remaining creepy and terrifying at the same time. At first it was a bit difficult to accept him playing this monster as he truly looks so adorable at times, but the way he actually goes about portraying Dahmer makes you look passed that. In a lot of cases serial killers (murderers) look like the person next door and that really worked here. You could believe he managed to lure these men back to his apartment, and then take control of that situation. Renner shows what a strong and capable actor he is, and if you are a fan of his this film is a must see.”
This is all very true with the film, and Renner’s performance. I really don’t think this would have worked as well without him. It is a shame more people have not discovered this film, another one I highly recommend checking out, as not only a good film but for Renner as well. This was one of his earlier film roles, and one where he is the lead. This films shows the signs of a truly great actor, and it is just such a shame I did not discover him back then, and it took The Hurt Locker for me to notice him.
Part 2 will be coming soon, and it will be taking a look at Renner in supporting roles.
The Hurt Locker Trailer
Dahmer Trailer (Red Band)

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