Review: ‘The Inspection’ is a strikingly personal portrait of the military under ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’
The first thing you learn about John Cassavetes is that he’s not one to let his personal feelings get in the way of his film. So it’s a surprise when, in a candid profile in the Paris Review, Cassavetes recalls a time when his feelings about the military were on a different level entirely.
“It was in 1971, when I first came to Los Angeles as a film student at UCLA,” he confesses. “I used to go out to the base and have breakfast with the guys on the base. And I could never understand why they couldn’t let me go into the Army, although my father had always been an alcoholic who had died in a car accident when I was 12. I would go to the base every day and watch it and wonder why I couldn’t go.”
Cassavetes had grown up in New Orleans, and he went to high school in Louisiana.
He went on to do a degree in communications at New York University but soon realized that he wanted to be a filmmaker. He soon got his first film job as an apprentice editor with Richard Treadaway’s “The Big Easy” (1972); by 1979, while shooting “The Natural” (1972), he was a production assistant on John Boorman’s “The Wicker Man” (1974), his first starring role.
“I realized I knew nothing about the military,” he recalls. “I thought I knew about the movies, but I really didn’t know anything about filmmaking. I just thought this is what the military does.”
But the army wasn’t the only thing he didn’t know about. After a year at New York University, he was offered a position with British production company Gove Production and moved to London. There he found himself surrounded by other film students, who he says were as clueless about filmmaking as he had been about the army. “[The film school] was a real odd place,” he says. “It was