Jeremy Renner's 10 Lesser-Known Films That Prove He's More Than Just Hawkeye
If you only know him as Hawkeye from the Marvel universe, trust me: you're missing out. Like, a lot.
Here are some of the lesser-known movies starring Jeremy Renner that you absolutely have to watch.
1. Dahmer (2002)
In this biographical horror film, Renner plays none other than Jeffrey Dahmer, the infamous serial killer. Dahmer lures young men to his home, where he drugs and kills them. In a chilling scene, Dahmer drills a hole into one of his victim's skulls and pours in acid, attempting to create a submissive slave.
Spoiler: it doesn't work. Dahmer is eventually arrested when one of his potential victims escapes and flags down two police officers.
2. 28 Weeks Later (2007)
Remember the zombie outbreak from "28 Days Later"? Well, it's been 28 weeks since, and the American military claims they've got it all under control. Renner plays Doyle, a military sniper.
The film focuses on two siblings, Tammy and Andy, who sneak back into London to retrieve a photo of their mother. They discover she's still alive but infected. She ends up infecting their dad, and — surprise, surprise — a new outbreak begins. Doyle goes rogue to help the kids escape, and then things inevitably go bad.
3. The Town (2010)
Doug MacRay (Ben Affleck), Jem (Renner), and their gang of Boston bank robbers. Doug falls for Claire, a bank manager they briefly took hostage during a heist. Jem is suspicious and checks her out, unaware that Doug is growing close to her. As they plan their next big job, the FBI starts closing in. Jem kills a security guard, causing a rift with Doug.
Despite successfully pulling off the job, Doug decides to leave town and asks Claire to join him. She refuses, and Doug ends up on the run.
4. North Country (2005)
Renner takes on the role of Bobby Sharp in this film inspired by real-life events about sexual harassment at a mining company. The story revolves around Josey Aimes (Charlize Theron), a single mom who takes a job at the mines. She, along with other female workers, faces severe harassment from her male colleagues.
Renner's character Bobby is one of the harassers, but he eventually becomes a key witness for Josey when he stands up in court and verifies her story.
5. S.W.A.T. (2003)
Renner plays Brian Gamble, an LAPD officer who gets expelled from the S.W.A.T. team after disobeying an order during a bank robbery.
Gamble feels betrayed when his partner, Jim Street (Colin Farrell), doesn't back him up, and he leaves the force. He resurfaces as the main antagonist when he joins a drug lord in plotting to escape police custody. Street's new S.W.A.T. team is tasked to prevent it. Renner's character kidnaps his ex-girlfriend and uses her as leverage.
6. The Hurt Locker (2008)
Set in the Iraq War, Renner stars as Staff Sergeant William James, a bomb disposal expert. From the get-go, you can tell this guy is an adrenaline junkie. He takes over a team after the former leader is killed.
James starts doing things his own way, infuriating his teammates, Sanborn and Eldridge. During a mission, he removes his headset and protective gear to disarm a bomb manually. At another point, James goes on a rogue mission at night, resulting in Eldridge getting injured.
7. American Hustle (2013)
In "American Hustle," Renner plays Carmine Polito, a New Jersey mayor who gets caught in FBI sting operation. Polito is friends with Irving Rosenfeld (Christian Bale), a conman working with the FBI. Unbeknownst to Polito, the deal he's part of — money in exchange for political favors — is actually a setup. He gets arrested and offers to take the fall, believing his friendship with Irving was genuine.
8. Wind River (2017)
Set in the frozen wilderness of Wyoming, Renner plays Cory Lambert, a U.S. Fish and Wildlife tracker. He discovers the body of a Native American woman while hunting predators on the Wind River Indian Reservation. FBI agent Jane Banner (Elizabeth Olsen) arrives to investigate, and Cory is roped in to assist.
The two uncover a dark world of drugs and sexual assault. They eventually discover that the woman's boyfriend was involved in her death.
9. Kill the Messenger (2014)
Renner takes on the role of Gary Webb, a journalist who uncovers the CIA's involvement in drug trafficking to fund Nicaraguan Contra rebels. Webb publishes his findings in a series of articles called "Dark Alliance."
Initially hailed as a hero, Webb soon faces backlash from both the government and fellow journalists. His career and family life fall apart as he's discredited. Undeterred, Webb continues his investigation, publishing a book to support his claims.
10. The Immigrant (2013)
Renner plays Orlando the Magician in this period drama set in the 1920s. Two Polish sisters, Ewa and Magda, arrive in New York but are separated as Magda is quarantined for tuberculosis. Ewa is taken in by Bruno (Joaquin Phoenix), who forces her into prostitution. Renner's character, Orlando, is Bruno's cousin and a magician who becomes enamored with Ewa. Orlando offers her a chance to escape, but Ewa is hesitant, fearing Bruno's wrath.