Film Review: Mili (2022)

Mili is a nursing graduate and planning to work abroad. She works part-time at a restaurant. One night immediately after checking out, she is asked to help the staff in loading some stuff in the restaurant’s freezer. The manager assumes that Mili left and he locks the freezer and leaves her there.

Mili is a survival thriller with a very interesting plot. The writing for such stories requires more care because the survival attempt has to stretch to the length and justify that whatever the film is depicting is making any sense. Unfortunately, Mili’s potential story meets with poor screenwriting and direction.

Mili is a Malayalam remake of the 2-time National Award-winning film Helen which was directed by Mathukutty Xavier. Helen met with critical acclaim and the same director remade Mili for Hindi audience. I cannot judge Helen because I haven’t watched so I really cannot explain why Mili’s aesthetics didn’t meet finesse.

This is a two-hour film which is quite long for survival. The films can be that long or more if someone is attempting to survive the war but if the story is that you are stuck in a freezer, the makers really need more than a masterpiece to justify that screentime. And here is the problem, the actual story of the film began after spending 40 minutes on Mili, her complicated relationship, her chain-smoking father, and her tough work under an irritating manager. Fine, I understand that things need to build up to feel settled with the character and the surroundings, not 40 minutes, maybe 15 minutes.

So one hour of survival is all that is left after wasting 40 minutes and I must say that the whole survival sequence was really good. Janhvi Kapoor as Mili surprised me. It was not mindblowing but an impressive display of the physical balance of survival. The psychological element was there and Janhvi set the tone well.

Mili misses a gripping intensity that was heavily needed in the cold horror stay. Despite being A.R.Rahman‘s music, the background score had nothing special to offer and kept playing in the survival sequences. And then some weird mistakes. When the freezer was finally opened and found Mili, why were all the people standing and looking at Mili’s father hugging her? Why didn’t they rush her out of the cold even if she was assumed dead? Why was the ambulance not called when her location was traced to be in the mall? Why didn’t Mili’s father shout her name in the mall? Especially when he heard a noise when Mili was hitting the tray on the pipe. Not even when the tray fell down.

Mili’s only pluses are the story and Janhvi’s performance. Would have been a fabulous film if the technicalities would have been on par with the story’s strength.

RATING: 3/10