It takes a special kind of person to be a Marine. I know that there was never a point in my life that I could have done it so when I see movies like The Inspection that highlights what these people go through, it only elevates the respect that I have for them.
The Inspection was written and directed by Elegance Bratton, who based a lot of the story on his own real-life experiences.
Ellis French (Jeremy Pope) was a young, gay black man who was having plenty of challenges in his life, including an estrangement with his mother Inez (Gabrielle Union). French decided to get his life on track by joining the Marines. However, his sexual orientation was revealed and this led to a series of homophobic responses from his platoon mates and the drill sergeants. In particular, drill sergeant Leland Laws (Bokeem Woodbine) would make the situation even worse for French. Laws’ goal was to make a Marine and he did it in some of the worst ways imaginable.
Watching this, you could not help but to feel for these people for what they were being put through to be a Marine. I understand that the Marines are looking for the best and can’t just let anyone join, but the process of systematically breaking down individuals until they can not handle it any longer is a difficult process to watch.
However, French faced plenty of problems, but it seemed as the film went along, he was not being broken down, but instead he was becoming stronger. He had several really good scenes with others in the platoon and with the men in charge. Jeremy Pope was outstanding through the whole movie. You absolutely see the way that French grew as an individual with each passing cruelty.
There was another intriguing character here named Ismail (Eman Esfandi), who had to face his own issues with prejudice toward his religion and the stereotypes of the Middle Eastern people. The scenes between French and Ismail were very strong and worked to show the connection the Marines build with one another.
Then there is Gabrielle Union, who played Inez and her own reactions to her son were just tragic. Union made the audience hope that there might be a chance that French and she could reunite and yet the pain was too deeply set. The third act scene between these two was a powerful and painful moment.
The Inspection was a really strong film with some very difficult moments to watch. There were wonderful performances and a concise story that dove into characters and their wills to overcome.