The Inspection is written and directed by Elegance Bratton and stars Jeremy Pope, Raúl Castillo, McCaul Lombardi, Aaron Dominguez, Nicholas Logan, Eman Esfandi, Andrew Kai, Aubrey Joseph, Bokeem Woodbine, and Gabrielle Union. It tells the story of by Bratton’s real-life experiences, the film follows a young man who faces homophobia, both at a Marines boot camp and at home from his mother. Excellent performances, strong direction, and confident cinematography make up for “The Inspection” shortcomings and introduce a bold new voice in filmmaking with director Elegance Bratton.
Elegance Bratton delivers one from the heart in their directorial debut. The strongest element of this film is just how authentic and lived-in everything feels. Bratton has such an attention to detail and often times the biggest moments in the film are small interactions. The glance of an eye, an act of kindness, or an act of aggression. “The Inspection” soars in the small moments, painting a delicate and nuanced portrait of a very difficult chapter of his life. While I feel the film fails to really tie all the themes of sexuality, masculinity, and homophobia together, we are still left with a great military drama with a compelling story and strong characters.
Jeremy Pope shines in the lead role, delivering one of the best performances of the year. He is raw emotion here, and able to balance the quiet with the storm. Gabrielle Union delivers a heartbreaking performance as a conflicted and often spiteful mother. Bokeem Woodbine joins the ranks of the classic “Military Boot-Camp Hardass” delivering a strong and equally frustrating performance. Raúl Castillo proves to be a true rising star, delivering a nuanced, complex, and heartwarming performance.
In short, The Inspection has got all the goods you’d want from a military drama and tells an engaging true story from the life of an exciting new director. 4/5