A movie written and directed by a Marine veteran, which chronicles his experience as a gay man struggling to find belonging in a ”Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” Marine Corps, is set to hit the big screen this fall.
Scheduled to premier at the Toronto International Film Festival in September, Elegance Bratton’s ”The Inspection” is an autobiographical drama that follows the journey of a young Black man from homelessness — Bratton was kicked out of his home as a teen due to his sexual orientation — to the Marine Corps, which he joined to make his estranged mother proud.
“Are you now or have you ever been a homosexual?” the senior drill instructor, played by Bokeem Woodbine (”Spider-Man: Homecoming”, “Fargo”), asks the recruit as he arrives at Parris Island.
“I will break you. I promise.”
Produced by A24 Films, the movie follows the recruit, portrayed by Jeremy Pope (”One Night in Miami”), “as he battles deep-seated prejudice and the grueling routines of basic training, finds unexpected camaraderie, strength, and support in this new community, giving him a hard-earned sense of belonging that will shape his identity and forever change his life,” the film’s synopsis reads.
Bratton, who enlisted in 2005 as a combat camera production specialist, said that despite the ban on non-heterosexual service members, the Marine Corps eventually became the family he was never allowed to have.
“Over time, once you learned what it is to be a Marine and what it means to wear this uniform, it became empowering,” Bratton said in a 2014 interview with ABC News. “Now that I’m in this uniform I’m instantly a part of this family anywhere I go in the world.
“Both in the military and in my family home, I had to be very resourceful in creating double lives,” he continued. “Creating a place where I could be gay at, or find places where I can be gay at with the understanding that I couldn’t be gay in base or at home ... I was aware about not giving off gay vibes, and not doing that was essential to my success.”
Also starring Gabrielle Union (”Bad Boys II”) and Raul Castillo (“Hustle”), “The Inspection” will hit nationwide theaters on Nov. 18.
Watch the trailer below.
Rachel is a Marine Corps veteran and a master's candidate at New York University's Business & Economic Reporting program.