THE INSPECTION (2022) (PFF31)
Jeremy Pope puts forth an emotional powerhouse of a performance in The Inspection, a film that neatly tells the based-on-real-events story in a straightforward, no frills delivery.
Directed by Elegance Bratton, The Inspection tells the story of a young gay Black Man (played by Pope) who has been living shelter to shelter after his mother kicked him out before he turns to the Marines. There he experiences prejudicial verbal and physical assaults, but ends up finding a brotherhood along the way. Pope is a marvel in this role, his command of his facial expressions just as intense as his dialogue, doing most of the heavy lifting to convey his feelings. The Inspection is not an easy watch; the depictions of the beatings he endures and the discrimination he faces is tangible. Scenes with his mother, played by Gabirelle Union, are heavy and unsettling right up until the very end. Bratton’s film largely works because he isn’t afraid to go there, to allow for the uncomfortable moments to take over the screen. It’s not the flashiest movie with a lot of it feeling low budget, but it gets the point across.
Raul Castillo gives another notable performance in the film, here playing a superior of Pope’s who is also gay. His voice is unmistakable, but his emotion is a nice surprise. His character is embedded in the ranks of an obviously broken system where actions such as those depicted are protected, as are those that take part. Bratton could have leaned into that piece of it a bit more, but instead we remain focused on the Pope, a fine choice, but one that results in a more simplistic film. Still, what results is a heavy, powerful film that further cements Pope as one of the best young actors of our time.
The Inspection hits theaters Friday.