Heart of Stone presents a whirlwind of action and suspense but the film stumbles when it comes to its handling of gender roles, resulting in a script that leans heavily on clichés. Heart of Stone is the latest in a long line of exclusive Netflix releases which sees the streaming giant reunite with writer Greg Rucka who penned the well-regarded hit The Old Guard as well as Gal Gadot and Matthias Schweighofer both of whom had solid success with Netflix projects ranging from Red Notice to Army of Thieves. This movie seemingly has all the elements in place for a strong foundation for high-concept spy action fun, but in execution, Heart of Stone also has the life and energy of a stone.
Rachel Stone (Gal Gadot) is an IT specialist for MI6 who unbeknownst to her colleagues is a spy planted by an international peacekeeping organization the Charter, a non-governmental spy organization accountable to no one who through the use of a quantum computer known as The Heart undertake missions based on the highest likelihood of saving the greatest number of lives. During a mission in the Italian Alps, Rachel catches sight of a mysterious hacker named Keya Dhawan (Alia Bhatt) who effortlessly cracks their security. Later on a mission in Lisbon, Rachel’s MI6 team is attacked by an ambush, and despite orders from The Charter, she decides to ignore them and help her MI6 allies which opens up the mastermind’s very predictable goal: Revenge on The Charter and control of The Heart.
This movie has a surprising lack of energy or enthusiasm to it with Rachel not being that interesting of a character and the mythology of The Charter and The Heart just feels tired. Heart of Stone features several action set pieces that are certainly impressive in scale, but there’s so little character development to really feel invested in any of the characters. All the actors felt like they were doing a chore and collecting a paycheck. Even Matthias Schweighofer who won me over with his quirky offbeat performances in Army of the Dead and Army of Thieves feels strangely lacking in that same energy as his character is just glorified tech support for much of the run time.
Heart of Stone is a mediocre action flick that is forgotten a minute after it ends, there is nothing new or memorable about it, other than Gal Gadot’s pretty face. I think at some point Gal Gadot also probably thinks she needs to stop making mindless action entertainers. It’s the kind of film that feels like it’s been assembled via a step-by-step set of instructions in the same way as an architecture project so it’s “functional” without any regard to enjoyment during that function. Neflix’s plan is to make films with a cast of actors from different parts of the world and then premiere it on Netflix so the streaming giant can boast about the household viewerships in the next earnings call. This is sad but based on the kind of movies released before on Netflix, it seems to be true. The lack of any originality in this film is shocking but not surprising in the end.