When Elegance Bratton was 16, his mother kicked out for being gay. He eventually found his way to the U.S. Marines Corps, where he worked in combat filmmaking and discovered his love of directing. (Bratton would go on to helm a number of lauded short films, as well as the documentary Pier Kids.) Now, his story is coming full circle with The Inspection.
In the movie, Jeremy Pope (One Night in Miami...) stars as Ellis French, a young, gay Black man who joins the Marines after he is rejected by his mother (Gabrielle Union). Upon arriving at boot camp, Ellis is pushed to his limits but finds unexpected camaraderie among his fellow recruits (played by Bokeem Woodbine, Raúl Castillo, McCaul Lombardi and Aaron Dominguez).
"The Inspection is very much about my own life — a homeless guy joins the Marine Corps to win back his mother's love, but then must conceal his attraction to his drill instructor," Bratton said in an interview with W Magazine, citing directors like Douglas Sirk and Pedro Almodóvar as inspirations for the film. "I just love a filmmaker who talks about their mom because I'm perplexed by my own."
The film, which hails from A24, marks a continuation of the themes Bratton explored in Pier Kids, about homeless and trans youth of color finding their own home in New York City, and his 2020 short film, Buck, about a young Black gay man's struggles with depression, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival.
The Inspection will premiere during September's 2022 Toronto International Film Festival and screen at the New York Film Festival before opening in theaters on November 18. Watch the trailer below.