Heart of Stone is below below-average spy thriller that acts as a pilot for an action franchise rather than a stand-alone film.
Here is our review of the 2023 Netflix movie Heart of Stone, which does not contain significant spoilers.
There’s much to admire about Heart of Stone, including its headlining movie star Gal Gadot. The story presents a female-centric action character, a rarity in current times.
The cast showcases a deep bench of quality actors, even featuring a cameo by a legendary performer.
Moreover, the story introduces a modern twist regarding reliance on artificial intelligence and its ethical implications.
However, despite my certainty that Heart of Stone will become the inception of an action franchise for streaming giant Netflix, the film can be somewhat dull.
The film also hastily discarded comic relief characters.
Heart of Stone Review and Plot Summary
The story follows Rachel Stone (Gal Gadot), a super spy from an ultra-secret covert agency called “The Charter.” Simply put, she’s an agent who cleans up other spy agencies’ messes.
Stone infiltrates an MI6 team led by Parker (Jamie Dornan) as a novice agent and attempts to save their mission. After the target dies, she is called back into Charter headquarters.
From there, we then met her team. There’s the Jack of Hearts (Matthias Schweighöfer), her point of contact who helps Stone navigate various spy work challenges.
Leading the operations is the King of Hearts (Sophie Okonedo), who informs her of a terrorist hacker named Keya who’s seeking control of “The Heart,” a quantum computer that can hack into “anything, anywhere.”
Heart of Stone was directed by Tom Harper, who worked from an original screenplay by Greg Rucka and Allison Schroeder. The film introduces an exciting premise—a secret spy syndicate that monitors other government spy agencies for the greater good.
If you skip the trailer, you’ll encounter a nicely plotted twist within the first twenty minutes.
The movie’s first act and a half provides genuine fun as the MI6 team exhibits playful chemistry, particularly with Paul Ready, who portrays Bailey. He is the film’s comic relief and an empathetic character viewers can relate to. (Does anyone else think he was a bit too handsy?)
Jing Lusi, who portrays Yang, further adds depth to the group’s dynamics by openly looking out for Stone.
From there, a shocking plot twist unfolds but doesn’t necessarily cohere when reviewing the events. Consequently, the script exhibits less joyful camaraderie and laughter than before.
This isn’t necessarily a dealbreaker, yet Heart of Stone falls victim to the action cliché where the villain becomes more engaging than the hero. However, the villain proves to be duller than expected.
Hand-to-hand combat lacks a certain impact. Also, Gadot loses consciousness or gets knocked out at least a half dozen times and is consistently roused by someone. Additionally, there are minor story inconsistencies that accumulate.
For instance, the villain brandishes his gun in a hydrogen-fueled military blimp.
The character has a plan to detonate later but is handed to be reminded to put away their gun because it could spark an explosion.
Moreover, they dismiss the significance of the Heart, unaware of the villain’s identity initially because the individual—namely, the villain— is hardly old enough to have no electronic footprint.
Is Heart of Stone good or bad?
Heart of Stone is below below-average spy thriller that acts as a pilot for an action franchise rather than a stand-alone film. The action is uninteresting, predictable, and highly digitized.
Is Heart of Stone worth watching?
Heart of Stone is only worth watching for the dedicated genre, Gadot, or Dornan fans. However, Gadot’s performance lacks emotional depth, traded in for stoic, wicked smiles. Despite her proven ability (see Wonder Woman 1984), the movie lacks suitable human reactions, which was needed.
What did you think of the 2023 Netflix movie Heart of Stone? Comment below.