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The Inspection - Everything You Need To Know

The year 2022 was a big one for A24, with films like "Pearl," "The Whale," "Bodies Bodies Bodies," and "Everything Everywhere All at Once." Into that prestigious arena steps "The Inspection." Announced and shot in 2021 (via Deadline), "The Inspection" had its wide theatrical release on November 18, 2022, telling a LGBTQ+ story inspired by real events and set in one of the most intense places on the planet — Parris Island.

"The Inspection" is backed by impressive talent and features a mix of rising stars and established ones. The military drama has left an emotional mark on audiences, with Martin Tsai of The Wrap saying the movie "feels like an instant queer classic." But if you want to know more about this A24 film, from its moving storyline to its incredible cast, then read on for everything you need to know about "The Inspection."

What is the plot of The Inspection?

"The Inspection" focuses on the young Ellis French, who decides to enlist in the United States Marine Corps after falling out with his mom. The homeless French hopes that, by joining the military, he'll be able to rekindle his relationship with his homophobic mother. Through his recruitment process, he is sent to the infamous boot camp in Parris Island, South Carolina.

French meets the requirements to complete basic training and finds his days filled with grueling tasks and exercises that push him to his mental and physical limits. His time at Parris Island becomes more burdensome after he is bullied and hazed for his sexuality. Identifying as gay, French is endlessly troubled by his drill instructor and fellow recruits. Despite the challenges French faces, "The Inspection" focuses on the lead character finding a community and sense of belonging in a toxic environment.

Who stars in The Inspection?

Taking center stage in "The Inspection" is Jeremy Pope, who stars as Ellis French. The rising star was previously seen in Regina King's "One Night in Miami" and Ryan Murphy's "Hollywood" miniseries. While speaking with Variety, Pope explained how he had to emotionally ground himself to step into the shoes of French, a process that included getting off of social media. "Every hour of the day I was thinking about this story and how to unpack layers and nuance," the actor said, before adding, "I honestly had to free myself of anything outside of the world that we were creating. ... That was challenging, and it took a different toll on me than I expected.

Gabrielle Union plays Ellis French's mother, Inez. Union is best remembered for her star-making performance in "Bring It On." She also headlined the 2022 iteration of "Cheaper by the Dozen." Raúl Castillo stars in the film as Rosales, a drill sergeant who's far more human than some of his counterparts. Castillo has had an exceptionally busy few years, appearing in hits such as "Wrath of Man," "Army of the Dead," "Hustle," and "Cha Cha Real Smooth."

French's soul-crushing drill instructor is Leland Laws, played by Bokeem Woodbine. The actor played Shocker in "Spider-Man: Homecoming," as well as starring in projects like the live-action "Halo" series and the second season of "Fargo." "Only Murders in the Building" actor Aaron Dominguez, "American Honey" star McCaul Lombardi, Nicholas Logan of "I Care a Lot," and Aubrey Joseph of "Cloak and Dagger round out the cast.

Who directed The Inspection?

Elegance Bratton made his feature directorial debut with "The Inspection." Prior to working with A24, Bratton directed the Viceland docuseries "My House." He's also responsible for the film's script. "The Inspection" is loosely based on Bratton's time in the Marines, which he joined after being kicked out of his home at the age of 16. "I thought I was worthless because I was gay. And then I joined the Marine Corps. And my drill instructor told me that I had value and I was important because of my ability to protect the person to my left and to my right. I think for me, that was a transformational moment," the writer-director told PinkNews.

"My House" talent producer Chester Algernal Gordon teamed up with Bratton to produce "The Inspection." Veteran producer Effie T. Brown is also behind the A24 drama. In addition to appearing on the fourth season of the documentary series "Project Greenlight," Brown is responsible for backing films like "Dear White People," "Everyday People," and the Julia Stiles web series "Blue."

Brown is exceptionally proud of "The Inspection," referring to the film as a "deathbed movie" in an interview with Vanity Fair. "What I mean by that is, when you're on your deathbed, the movies you're going to be really happy that you made, that you added to the culture, that you left things a little better," the producer explained.

How are critics and audiences responding to The Inspection?

As of the time of this writing, there are no audience reviews on Rotten Tomatoes for "The Inspection." However, we do have the box office numbers. As you might assume, "The Inspection" isn't doing "Black Panther: Wakanda Forever" numbers. After all, the film is aimed for the arthouse market, and initially, it only played in five theaters in New York and Los Angeles. According to Variety, the film earned $65,492 on its opening weekend, which if you do the math, that breaks down to $13,188 per theater.

As for the critics, the film does have a strong critical score of 82% on Rotten Tomatoes, based on 66 reviews. The general Rotten Tomatoes consensus for the film reads, "Although it's frustratingly clumsy in certain respects, 'The Inspection' is an affecting actors' showcase in service of some truly worthy themes."

On the more negative side of things, Jeff Nelson of Showbiz Cheat Sheet writes, "'The Inspection' echoes brainwashed sensibilities of masculinity and the self, improperly interrogating the broken system and those who perpetuate it." But on the more positive side of things — and most of the reviews on Rotten Tomatoes are indeed positive — critics have praised Elegance Bratton's direction and Jeremy Pope's performance, with Randy Myers of the San Jose Mercury News writing, "Bratton brings a surreal, rubbed-raw realness to 'The Inspection' — reflected in the performances, the film's gritty look and unconventional style."

Where to watch The Inspection

At the moment, "The Inspection" isn't available for streaming. If you want to see Elegance Bratton's moving drama, you'll have to search for the film in theaters. However, when it does eventually come to streaming, we have an educated guess about where you'll be able to find it. According to Business Insider, A24 — the studio releasing "The Inspection" — has a deal with Showtime, where their movies usually hit the site several months after playing in theaters. So if you'd rather watch "The Inspection" from the comfort of your own home, be sure to keep an eye on that particular streaming service.