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Milestone (2021) Film Review

Updated: May 23, 2021

★★★


Directed by: #IvanAyr

Written by: #IvanAyr


 

Milestone (2020), or Meel Patthar, is an Indian Hindi-language drama following a lonely, aging and recently widowed truck driver facing the threat of losing the job that has come to define him to a new intern.


This understated slow burn is an openly honest and bleak depiction of the existential crisis that almost everyone in the world faces when they feel they are becoming obsolete figures in their workplace and losing any sense of relevance. The film, directed and written by award winning filmmaker Ivan Ayr (known for his acclaimed move Soni (2018), premiered at the 77th Venice International Film Festival in September 2021, where it was nominated for Best Film. It also won two Silver Screen Awards upon its release at the Singapore International Film Festival and Best Asian Feature Film.

The Indian protagonist sits in the car seat of a truck and observes the road with a hint of sadness.
Milestone (2020) film poster

The film presents an intimate character study through a gritty lens which emphasis realism and the simple mundane activities that plagues everyday life. The cinematography by Angello Faccini is delicately precise and contemplative as we become closely aligned with Ghalib (Suvinder Vicky) and experience his emotional and physical strain as he drives to earn a measly living. The solemn loneliness of the protagonist is captured perfectly by long stretches of silence and long takes with a lack of background score, creating an absorbing atmosphere as characters disappear into the desolate environment.


The presentation is similar to that of a documentary style, with a heavy emphasis on authentic human experiences and a dark ambience which very rarely lets up. Not all of life is grim no matter how tough matters get, however, as demonstrated by many beautiful shots in the early morning setting where the sky is a deep red/purple as Ghalib prepares for his next shift with the new intern, Pash (Lakshvir Saran).


Even though Vicky and Saran only have a couple of other acting credits, both give good performances and play their roles well. Suvinder Vicky is certainly the standout in the film and his work earned him the Silver Screen Award Best Performance in an Asian feature film. Vicky gives a solemn and nuanced performance which is full of endearing humanity and relatability as we watch him doubt his position in the company he works for. The generation gap between Ghalib and Pash is presented naturally and it is easy to sympathise with both parties.


Although a bit too slow in several areas and the dark, gritty tone will not be appealing for many, Milestone is an admirable and engrossing film with rich, compelling themes and a includes a powerhouse performance from its lead.

 

Milestone (2021) film trailer:


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