Set during the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell era in 2005, Elegance Bratton’s The Inspection is a quiet and eager exploration of femininity in a masculine-driven world. As Jeremy Pope’s Ellis French refuses to be shoved aside, he finds an unexpected ally (and object of fantasy) in Raúl Castillo’s drill sergeant, Rosales. It is a hidden friendship that takes beautiful shape in the form of mutual respect and intelligence.
The first time that we see Rosales is when the new recruits meet their superior officers, but he takes an immediate interest in French when the young men are given the chance to call their loved ones. French fakes leaving a message for a girlfriend, but you can tell that Rosales doesn’t buy it. Instead of outing French in that moment, you can tell that Rosales is concerned with the recruit’s future during boot camp. It’s all there on Castillo’s face.
Castillo considered himself lucky to work directly with Bratton on such a personal story, but what he was really looking forward to conveying was the idea of how men are so afraid of femininity. Throughout The Inspection, men gnash their teeth and scream themselves blue, but Rosales knows he doesn’t need to bring that world into his personal life.
Castillo has always represented a contemplative leading man. He imbues his characters with a considered intelligence and thoughtfulness while staying a present and playful when necessary. He proves that we all need a Rosales in our corner.
The Inspection is in theaters now, and it will debut on PVOD on December 22.