The Inspection

  • 29 Apr - 05 May, 2023
  • Mag The Weekly
  • Reviews

"The Inspection" is a amazing story of human fortitude and perseverance in the face of great obstacles, loosely based on director Elegance Bratton's personal experience as a gay man who joined the Marines following the horrific events of 9/11. The film, which stars a gay protagonist, dives into the rigorous training that a group of young men receives at a Marine boot camp. While "The Inspection" is sometimes restrained and subtle, it is precisely because of this quality that the film is so powerful, making an impression on all who view it.

The story begins in 2005, with Ellis French, a gay African American guy. Ellis had been living alone for some time at the age of 25, having gotten estranged from his mother owing to her religious beliefs, which would not accept his sexuality. Ellis enlists in the Marines and attends boot camp after trying to excel in many efforts and finding himself on the verge of drug addiction and loneliness. It is there that he is confronted with the harsh realities of the outer world, a world that is both ruthless and merciless, especially towards homosexuals.

Jeremy Pope's portrayal of Ellis French in "The Inspection" is absolutely impressive, since he appears in nearly every shot and offers a stunning performance that reflects the character's caring nature as well as his longing for his mother's acceptance. Ellis struggles to control his conflicting feelings and demonstrate traditional conceptions of masculinity in the part, but Pope rises to the challenge and excels in it. Gabrielle Union gives a powerful portrayal as the mother, convincingly depicting her sorrow and remorse. Bokeem Woodbine plays the imposing authority figure at boot camp, instilling fear and apprehension in the recruits with his bullying tactics and willingness to go to any length to achieve his aims. When seeing Elegance Bratton's debut film, comparisons to "Moonlight" and "Full Metal Jacket" are unavoidable, albeit it falls short of the same level of perfection. Nonetheless, Bratton's direction hits all the right notes, and it's difficult to imagine that this is the first film he's directed. Bratton's personal experience with the same issues depicted in the film probably helped him capture the subject matter with such skill. The tone of the film is both vicious and elegiac, with Animal Collective's music serving as a juxtaposition to the brutal actions presented on screen. "The Inspection" is essentially a narrative of a person overcoming seemingly insurmountable barriers to attain his aims. What distinguishes this picture is its understated and intelligent approach, which ultimately proves to be a significant strength.