Spotlight On – Jeremy Renner Part 4 (Neo Ned, North Country & The Town)

Spotlight On – Jeremy Renner

Part 4: Neo Ned, North Country & The Town

Spotlight On Jeremy Renner continues, as I take a look at two supporting roles and a leading role.
Neo Ned is a film starring Jeremy in the lead role, I hadn’t even heard of this film until I started to become a huge fan and I wanted to seek out more of his work. This is a strange film, the focus is on a neo nazi named Ned (played by Renner) who is in a psychiatric facility where he falls in love with Rachel (Gabrielle Union) who is African-American, and also happens to think she’s possessed by Hitler. It has such a quirky premise, it appealed to me right away. This is a drama, mixed with comedy, mixed with romance and Jeremy managed to pull off all three elements perfectly. Ned is a very misunderstood character, he is a lost soul, looking for where he really belongs. Jeremy manages to capture this so well, he literally disappears into the character. Ned could have been one dimensional, but he brings out so much with Ned, he brings the character to life. While he comes off as someone so well dumb, he plays it in that crazy likable manner. He isn’t truly part of the brotherhood, he knows that deep down, all he wants is to belong. There are times it is almost heart-breaking to see how lost Ned really is, but then there are such touching moments as he connects with Rachel. This is easily one of Jeremy’s best performances, I loved it. In my review of the film, I said this about Jeremy: “I would easily rate this as one of Renner’s finest performances, probably his best comedic role too. He is just so engaging as Ned, no matter what comes out of his mouth you can’t help but like the guy. Renner has a natural charm, and it works so well for Ned.
In the same year that Neo Ned was released, Jeremy was in another film, which he played a completely different character. In North Country he takes on the role of Bobby Sharp, a man who sexually harasses the women in his work place. One of his victims, who happens to also be his high school girlfriend Josey (Charlize Theron) has had enough of his behaviour as well as that of the other men and finally speaks out. Despite the odds stacked up against her, she takes Bobby and the workplace to court in what would be the first major successful sexual harassment case in the US. This film was loosely based on those events, I have no idea if the character of Bobby was based on a real person or based upon several people or entirely fictional. The character is meant to be someone to immediately despise, he is not a nice man and he clearly does not have any respect for the women in that working environment. Jeremy Renner quite simply gives one heck of a slimy performance. He even tries to make his actions justified, and the way Jeremy portrays it, he believes what he says even though what he is doing is wrong. I was convinced by his performance, his character even scared me from time to time with the actions he took and the lies he spoke. I really have to give Renner huge props for taking something like this (a simple a-hole role) and turning it into a really solid performance. Upon my first viewing of this film, his character really suck out, I remember being too scared at the time to look him up in case I’d end up liking him!
On to his most recent role, he again plays the role of the bad guy. The Town which is Ben Affleck’s second film as director sees himself and Jeremy play best friends who also happen to have formed a group who rob banks. Ben plays Doug, he’s the more grounded one, Jeremy plays James he’s the loose cannon (acts first, thinks later). While James could have been a cliched character, both Jeremy and Ben have crafted such an interesting and even terrifying character. James is the kind of guy who is loyal till the end, unless he is crossed. Doug walks a fine line between being loyal and crossing his friends after he falls for one of their hostages. In one of the best scenes in the film, James confronts Doug while he is with Claire (Rebecca Hall). What makes this scene so great is that James appearance is so unexpected to begin with, and with what we’ve seen of him we as the audience can’t be sure how he will react. Not only that, but there is the added danger that Claire might recognise James. By this time there is a solid investment between Claire and Doug as I certainly didn’t want to see something bad happen, but adding in James that danger was always there. Jeremy gives an amazing performance and easily one of the best supporting roles of 2010. The thing that really blew me away was the amazing chemistry between him and Ben through-out the film. These two work well together, as co-stars and as actor/director, it would be a shame if they don’t work together again.
Neo Ned
North Country
The Town

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