Life On The Road
Truck driving can be a dangerous and trying job. Whether it be reports of Amazon drivers urinating in bottles or migrants harassing drivers in France, there’s more to this job than first meets the eye. Milestone then is an interesting Indian project, one that shows the harsh reality of being a driver with a sobering look at the price one must pay to eke their way through life.
At the center of this is Ghalib, a seasoned truck driver who’s well respected by his peers. Becoming the first driver to reach 500,000km, the momentous occasion is marked with the man clutching his back in agony. Ghalib’s mental toll finally manifests itself in a physical way.
It’s around this time he’s introduced to newcomer Pash, encouraged to show the boy the ropes and everything he knows to become a top truck driver. When one of Ghalib’s friends are unceremoniously dumped from the firm for bad eyesight, Ghalib starts to worry he may be next.
Alongside this work-bound story is a look at Ghalib’s home life. Specifically, we hone in on the fractured relationships he’s left behind by pursing this job on the road.
Endless hours of overtime and mile after mile of concrete, dust and rest stops result in a number of fractured and disjointed relationships left behind. His wife has taken her own life and his friends at work are dropping like flies.
It’s in this sobering reality where Milestone is at its strongest, taking an unflinching look at life on the road while constantly showing Ghalib’s torn and conflicted ideals. It’s delicate balance of course between slice of life and outright mundanity, and at times this film does slip up.
There are quite a few moments out on the road where the camera just hangs on Ghalib and Pash as they drive. It’s slow, laborious and I guess indicative of what it’s like to drive a truck – but boy does it slow the film down to a slog.
Given the distinct Indie feel to this movie, a lot of what’s shown will be a real love/hate affair for viewers. There are echoes of Nomadland in that respect, with the camera hovering around the day to day life of this driver and his trials and tribulations. In the end, Milestone finishes with a beautifully ironic and poetic conclusion, one that brings the film around full circle in a pretty satisfying manner.
This won’t be a film for everyone though. A lot of the time the movie slows to a crawl and Milestone demands a lot of patience to get to the good stuff. In fact, most of the best material here doesn’t even show up until around the hour mark of this 98 minute picture.
While the material isn’t necessarily new or unique, the distinct Indian slant is a good one, with some picturesque locales showing off the beauty of this country.
Ghalib’s character is certainly enough to gravitate toward, but all the other supporting players fall by the wayside. Despite that, if you’re in the mood for a slow-paced road trip movie, Milestone does a decent job showing the highs and lows of being a truck driver in India.
Looking for more Milestone content? Check out our Ending Explained article for a more in-depth break-down of this movie! You can find that HERE!