10 Best Jeremy Renner Movies


10 Best Jeremy Renner Movies

Jeremy Renner may not be a household name, but the majority of American audiences would recognize him. Most would know him as Clint Barton, also known as Hawkeye, in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Others may recognize him as Impossible Mission Force Agent William Brandt from Mission: Impossible — Ghost Protocol and Mission: Impossible — Rogue Nation. Others still know him as the protagonist of the Bourne franchise spin-off The Bourne Legacy. He has gotten an increasing amount of burn in recent years, and deservedly so. He delivers unique performances that range from understated to downright silly. He possesses a strange but undeniable sort of star quality that audiences are recognizing more and more. Here are Renner’s ten best films so far.

Mission: Impossible — Rogue Nation (2015)

Following the events of the previous film, Mission: Impossible — Ghost Protocol, the Impossible Mission Force is shuttered. Renner’s Agent William “Billy” Brandt is transferred to the Central Intelligence Agency. He and cyber operator Luther Stickell (Ving Rhames) join forces to quietly locate their friend and fellow former IMF Agent Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) without getting caught. Renner and Rhames have great chemistry. Together they provide the brunt of the film’s comic relief.

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Wind River (2017)

Screenwriter Taylor Sheridan’s stories tend to be gritty looks at the contemporary North American frontier. Wind River is only his second time behind the camera — but he received much-deserved acclaim for his effort. Renner plays Cody Lambert, a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Agent who is recruited by a Federal Bureau of Investigation Agent (Elizabeth Olsen) to investigate the murder of a young woman on a Native American Reservation. With great films like Wind River featuring great performances like Renner’s—Sheridan appears to be the forebearer of defining the neo-Western genre.

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Mission: Impossible — Ghost Protocol (2011)

Renner made his debut to the Mission: Impossible franchise with Ghost Protocol in 2011, directed by Brad Bird (The Incredibles, Ratatouille). Billy Brandt finds himself an unwitting member of Ethan Hunt’s IMF team when his escort of the U.S. Secretary of State goes wrong. Though he was not featured in the latest entry Mission: Impossible — Fallout, and it remains to be seen whether Renner will return to the franchise, Brandt was a character who will be remembered fondly by fans.

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The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford (2007)

In this star-studded dramatization of the events leading up to the eponymous assassination, Renner plays Wood Hite. Hite was Jesse James’s cousin and a member of his notorious gang of outlaws who operated in the state of Missouri. The film underwhelmed severely at the box office — it earned back about half of its budget — but continues to receive much critical acclaim for its great performances and beautiful cinematography.

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The Hurt Locker (2008)

The Hurt Locker is an award-winning film set early on in the American invasion of Iraq. Renner’s character, Sergeant First Class William James, is the leader of a U.S. Army Explosive Ordnance Disposal unit. The film illustrates viscerally his tense job and tense relations with his fellow soldiers. It received widespread acclaim. Director Kathryn Bigelow made history when she was the first—and only—woman to win Best Director at the Academy Awards for the film.

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Arrival (2016)

Renner is integral to Arrival, Denis Villeneuve’s earnest attempt to imagine what an interaction between humans and extraterrestrials would look like. He plays Ian Donnelly, a physicist assigned to one of the locations where aliens have landed. He works with the film’s protagonist, linguist Louise Banks (Amy Adams) to decipher their mysterious, mind-altering language. The film is gorgeously shot and features laudable performances which Renner is among.

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The Bourne Legacy (2012)

Rather than a true sequel to the Matt Damon-led Bourne trilogy, The Bourne Legacy is more of a spiritual sequel. The film illustrates that Jason Bourne was but one of many special operatives used by one of many private military firms. The film exists in the fallout of Bourne’s actions in the original trilogy—which impacts Renner’s black ops agent Aaron Cross and the organization for which he works, Operation Outcome. It is a tense film—helmed by Tony Gilroy, who penned the preceding films — in which Renner gives a sturdy performance under the tall order of replacing Damon’s titular Jason Bourne.

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The Immigrant (2013)

The Immigrant is a bleak look at interwar New York City. Marion Cotillard plays the eponymous Polish immigrant Ewa Cybulska who struggles to survive and support her ill sister. She resorts to prostitution for a man named Bruno Weiss (Joaquin Phoenix), but he and his cousin Emil (Renner) frequently come to blows for her affection. The performances — including Renner’s — are incredibly affecting.

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The Town (2010)

Ben Affleck’s The Town is a dark thriller about a group of robbers who operate out of the historically Irish-American neighborhood of Charlestown, Boston. The group is led by Affleck’s character Doug MacRay. MacRay complicates matters when he develops feelings for one of the witnesses of a heist (Rebecca Hall). He must hide this fact from his crew — namely Renner’s character Jem Coughlin, who would not hesitate to silence her. It is a thrilling drama.

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American Hustle (2013)

In David O’Russell’s 1970s crime-comedy American Hustle, a couple of grifters (Christian Bale and Amy Adams) are forced to work with an FBI agent (Bradley Cooper) on a sting operation to exonerate themselves. Renner plays their mark — Carmine Polito, Mayor of Camden, New Jersey — a well-intentioned but government official with a sizable pompadour. It is an expansive film with committed performances from the entire core cast, including Renner.

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Weekend: Feb. 27, 2020, Mar. 1, 2020

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