The Inspection

Ellis French is a young, gay Black man, rejected by his mother and with few options for his future, decides to join the Marines, doing whatever it takes to succeed in a system that would cast him aside. But even as he battles deep-seated prejudice and the grueling routines of basic training, he finds unexpected camaraderie, strength, and support in this new community, giving him a hard-earned sense of belonging that will shape his identity and forever change his life.

  • Released: 2022-11-18
  • Runtime: 95 minutes
  • Genre: Drama
  • Stars: Jeremy Pope, Gabrielle Union, Bokeem Woodbine, Raúl Castillo, McCaul Lombardi, Nicholas Logan, Aaron Dominguez, Eman Esfandi, Aubrey Joseph, Andrew Kai, Tyler Merritt, Steve Mokate, Brad Napp, Daniel Williamson, Wynn Reichert
  • Director: Elegance Bratton
  • jimfinger-47793 - 2 January 2023
    Worthwhile, particularly as a study in overcoming parental disavowal.
    The understated nature of this film is, overall, an asset, though at the same time, it undermines the clarity and impact of the overall story. Still, this is a clear eyed look at the trauma that a parent's disapproval can wreak, and the courage and determination of the protagonist to find an accepting "family" is both admirable and inspirational. Very fine, believable performances from all the cast, and the script never strikes any false or sentimentally objectionable notes. The crisp, ninety or so minute length is also a wise decision, the story doesn't need any more than that to be told convincingly. Good (if not brilliant) job!
  • nikicianciola-702-657633 - 16 December 2022
    Horrible Movie
    I heard Elegance Bratton's interview on NPR and it was very good. I was intrigued by his story and saw the movie two weeks later. What I thought was a slow start turned into a series of bad acting, no character development, and awful scenes reminiscent of low-budget porn storylines. The homosexual stereotypes were over the top and were shameful and a disservice to all whom serve in the military.

    This movie was such a disappointment and did not do his life story justice (and yes, I realize he was both the writer and director). Elegance has a compelling story to share, but this movie completely missed its mark.
  • bbickley13-921-58664 - 6 December 2022
    An excellent portrait
    Though the movie focus on a man whose gay and his experience going through the Marines Boot Camp, the movie actually examines a diverse group of young men going through the Marine Corps training. Of all the types you'll find your type that you can relate to.

    I feel the movie makes you guess a little too much about the main character French's background. Most likely done on purpose as the purpose of the Marines is to have no background when you put on that uniform. Slowly along with the character we discover what type of man he can be without putting any further labels on him.

    Find it ironic that the inspection actually was positive propaganda for the U. S Marine corps, casue what I saw a coming-of-age story that molded the story teller greatly.

    It was a small picture which triggered great emotion.
  • brentsbulletinboard - 26 November 2022
    An Outstanding Directorial Debut
    Finding one's family may not always occur where one most likely expects it. For many of us, that typically comes with our blood relations. But sometimes circumstances arise that prevent that from happening, as is the case for a twentysomething gay Black man (Jeremy Pope) who has been on his own since age 16 when his close-minded single mother (Gabrielle Union) forced him out onto the streets to fend for himself. And, after years of bouncing around aimlessly, he decides to try getting his act together by joining the Marines, a seemingly unlikely choice but one that unwittingly helps him find what he's been looking for all along. Writer-director Elegance Bratton's fact-based debut narrative feature tells a compelling story of acceptance among those from whom it might least be expected and its absence where one would think it should most likely be present. The film's superb Independent Spirit Award-nominated performances by Pope and Union, along with fine supporting portrayals turned in by other members of the excellent ensemble cast (most notably Bokeem Woodbine and Raúl Castillo), truly give this picture its razor-sharp edge and its touching moments of heartfelt compassion, an unusual mix of elements on the same story, to be sure. In several regards, "The Inspection" also echoes groundbreaking themes first addressed in "Moonlight" (2016), though with slightly different but nevertheless equal significance. Admittedly, the production could probably benefit from a little more back story development and slightly brisker pacing in the first half-hour, but those are truly minor shortcomings in the greater scheme of things where this film is concerned. If this ISA candidate for best first feature is any indication of what we can expect in future works from this filmmaker, I can't wait to see what else he comes up with.
  • naq-1 - 22 November 2022
    Terrific Exploration of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell"
    The policy of "Don't Ask..." was in effect when the movie was conceived -- and it serves as a time capsule of the ramification of that policy. In the event that a gay man is able to become a member of the armed forces, he has to contend with any number of abuses that are heaped up upon him in the name of discrimination. In the case of this film, it is doubled as the lead character is not only gay, but also black.

    The issue at heart is whether gay people are an asset to the military; for some reason, it was never a significant issue until recently, with the advent of Desert Storm. With the passage of the policy, the military has no right to refuse a gay person, which therefore leaves the gay man to become a pariah in his own platoon. Here, he is subject to a number of abuses by the rest of the squad, as he is treated with disdain by the Commanding Officer (who coincidentally is also black) and is beaten up by his fellow recruits, and has to fight back to be able to achieve a level of respect.

    Even though some of the film is somewhat "by the numbers," and has a character who is Muslim and therefore is also discriminated against, the film never resorts to cheap sentimentality; the Marine recruit never reconciles with his mother, who rejects him for being gay, which would be an absolute requirement in a Hollywood-ized version. He also is never given any chance of finding a sympathetic ear, despite every effort to do so. That is another reason why the script does not adhere to the standard Hollywood versions of gay themed dramas.

    Overall, this is an exceptional achievement, as it free of any simplistic view of a gay character. For that reason alone, it towers way over the run of the mill gay themed drama. Kudos to the Director and the main Actors for having the courage to break the rules in making a film that is so realistic, it could almost be a documentary.
  • chong_an - 17 September 2022
    A workman-like view of Marine boot camp for a gay participant
    Kicked out of home at age 16 by his single mother, likely because she found out he was gay, a black man eventually decided to turn his life around by joining the Marines, during the time of the Afghanistan War. This is mostly a docudrama about his time in boot camp. While he answered "no" to the question of "Are you a homosexual", shouted at all recruits early on (plus others like "Have you smoked marijuana, etc.), presumably his physical reaction to being in a shared-shower situation gave away his secret. In his continuing journey, he has both detractors and allies.

    Given that this film is heavily biographical, despite the usual disclaimers, I wonder how the director will fare in a narrative that does not come from his own experiences.