The Inspection’s overriding message is that a young gay, Black man can be his own hero. The Inspection is written and directed by Elegance Bratton. It is based on his own life as a young black man with a very complicated and challenging relationship with his mother, having run out of options he decides to join the Marines.
When we talk about film diversity, this is it. There are very few films about young gay black men that aren’t mired in despair and tragedy. Whilst the film starts with Jeremy Pope (Ellis French) living in the YMCA after being kicked out by his mother (Gabrielle Union), it is the jumping off point for a journey that ends in him being his own hero and no longer tolerating abuse that his mother dishes out to him.
The Inspection is an outstanding film that tackles some big themes and largely does this well. Some of the dormitory scenes borrowed heavily from Full Metal Jacket but that can be forgiven because, for a debut film, it is coherent and packs an emotional punch. In some ways, these scenes are needed to provide the audience with the context and understanding of just how much Pope overcomes and achieves.
There are some very memorable films including the shower scene with pulsating music and disco lights. As well as the gay officer who helps save him after the brutal hazing swimming scene. Bratton manages to never lose the tenderness despite the brutality of what is shown.
This film was overlooked in award season especially in terms of direction, cinematography and nomination for Gabrielle Union although I am glad that Ellis French was recognised at the Golden Globes. If we want more films that give a diverse representation of Black men then we must support these films in the cinema!
The Inspection is released in UK cinemas on 17 February.