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Interview: Elegance Bratton Talks About Blending Personal Experience with Cinema for ‘The Inspection’

Elegance Bratton took a very personal experience and made art out of it. Chiefly, he took his time in the military and crafted the film The Inspection, which is something incredibly compelling. Bratton surely never assumed that a movie would be the end result, but it’s a credit to his talent that it seems both deeply personal and wildly universal, the story he’s telling. So, when the opportunity to talk about this flick was presented to me, it was a fairly obviously choice. That’s especially so when you consider something similar from my past. It all made for a great discussion, one which you can give a listen to today!

Below, you can hear my chat with Bratton. We definitely references both of our pasts when talking about The Inspection, which is unsurprising, considering Bratton’s background. He’s a lovely man, to say the least, and we had a fair amount of laughs during this conversation. So, after I enjoyed the movie back at the Toronto International Film Festival, today is the day that you can finally check it out for yourself…

This here is some of what I said about The Inspection back at TIFF:

Story time: about a decade ago, I was briefly in the New York City Police Academy. Yes, I was training to be a cop. I didn’t last long, opting for this far safer career instead, but the short-lived experience has always stayed with me, for good and for bad. Watching The Inspection at the Toronto Film Festival, some things came rushing back to me. Sure, many of the particulars are different, but some of the feelings were the same. So, on top of this independent drama being one of the better movies to play at TIFF, it has the added bonus of really hitting home its emotions in a very specific way.

The Inspection could easily have been a moribund slog. Luckily, in adapting his own real life experiences, writer/director Elegance Bratton finds hope, as well as unlikely humor. There are some moments that work better than others, but interestingly, all of the bits meant to provide levity really land. It’s strong calculus, too, as otherwise this might have wound up too heavy to take on. Instead, it becomes wildly compelling.

Filmmaker Elegance Bratton rarely hits a wrong note here. This is a well shot and deeply moving film. Bratton effectively hammers home the feelings of his character, standing in for his own experiences. As mentioned above, I shared in some of them, particularly in being the one cadet or recruit being picked on by someone with a mean streak, but there’s a universality in what he’s depicting, just done through a very specific story.


Here now is my interview with The Inspection filmmaker Elegance Bratton. Enjoy:

The Inspection is now in theaters!


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Written by Joey Magidson

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