A Black Harvest Film Festival Feature
Producer and Writer, Elegance Bratton’s self narrative fiction film debut, The Inspection, explores his journey as a young, gay Black man facing the adverse hardships of life and decides to join the Marines. The Inspection is a deeply moving story about the triumph and perseverance needed to not only make it through the grueling routines of basic Marine training, but the strength needed to maintain and value the beauty within one’s own identity.
“When I joined the Marine Core, after ten years of being homeless, I really thought I was worthless, that I had no value to the world,” Bratton explains. “I was fortunate to have a drill instructor say to me, ‘You are important. You matter because you have the ability to protect the person to your left and to your right.’”
Emmy and Tony nominated actor, Jeremy Pope, gives a jaw dropping performance as the lead character, Ellis French, who has an emotionally complicated relationship with his mother, played by Gabrielle Union-Wade, and struggles through the mental and physical pressures of proving himself to a sadistic sergeant, played by Bokeem Woodbine.
“French is a character that doesn’t give up on himself and doesn’t give up on the people who’ve wronged him,” said Bratton. “I want to show people, especially men in this world, that true strength lies in forgiveness. That’s where strength really comes from.”
Throughout the storyline French is ridiculed and outcasted into facing deep-seated prejudice of the system, his fellow Marine mates and sergeants alike for being gay. In the past few years America has seen a significant cultural shift in recognizing and embracing the LGBTQ+ community. “Quiet as it’s kept, the U.S. military is one of the most progressive institutions in the history of the United States,” Bratton shares. “The first institution to integrate, first place where women and men get paid the same money for the same jobs. I have queer friends in the military tell me that their lives have been vastly improved after ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ [was abolished]. I do think it’s gotten better [for the LGBTQ community], but there’s still room for improvement.”
Bratton continues, “It’s important that people watch this movie if you’ve ever felt alone or like you’re the only one, abandoned, disregarded or oppressed, I want people to know that you matter because you have the ability to protect someone else.”
“As we approach the holidays, people see ‘Black’ and ‘gay’ in the headline and they’re like ‘Oh my God, I don’t want to cry on Thanksgiving,’ but I promise, for every tear you shed you will draw power from. This movie is made to remind people of the power they have inside to change the world,” stated Bratton. “There might be some moments of being emotional, but you’re also going to have great moments of humor and the whole family will laugh together.”
The Inspection premiered as the opening night film of the Toronto International Film Festival Discovery section, was featured in the Black Harvest Film Festival earlier this month and will close the New York Film Festival 2022.
The movie is scheduled to hit most theaters November 18th. Check your local listings in your area.