Heart of stone judgement: ★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆: Another year and another big-budget Netflix original film that lands with a resounding thud. Despite the best intentions, the story, the premise, the performances, and everything else remains lacking Heart of stone really disappoints in every way. While some sequences are pretty cool to see on screen, it’s not enough to redeem a movie with a story that goes nowhere. Read on for my Heart of stone judgement.
Warning: This Heart Of Stone review contains some spoilers.
Heart Of Stone has cool action
Heart of stone sees Rachel Stone (Gal Gadot) as the technical genius of an MI6 team of spies. While Parker (Jamie Dornan) and Yang (Jung Lusi) are the real spies doing the cool stuff, Rachel stays in the van typing on her keyboard. Or so we think. When something goes wrong in the opening scene, the audience learns that Rachel is actually the cool, awesome spy, working undercover at MI6, as part of a larger secret spy organization, The Charter.
The opening action set piece is pretty cool. Rachel must drive a skyrail car down a snowy mountain in the Italian Alps. And she does this by grabbing a guy in a parachute that lights up while this artificial intelligence follows its optimal path down the mountain. So Rachel parachutes down the mountain taking out bad guys. At one point she even switches to a Snow motorcycle and continues to be a badass. It’s a pretty innovative and fun sequence, despite having no context in the film itself.
This Heart Of Stone review contains some spoilers
After the fake-out, we find out that Rachel works for The Charter, a secret spy network of ex-intelligence agents who don’t work for any government, but only act on their own. What they do, or how, or why and what their ultimate mission is is quite unclear throughout the film. “Putting out fires” is about the only explanation we get for it. But the main premise behind Heart Of Stone, and its cool title, is that The Charter uses this crazy artificial intelligence known as the Heart for everything they do. And this is where it gets a bit strange and confusing.
Please note that the following will contain some minor spoilers about Heart Of Stone. The Heart is apparently an AI that knows everything, plans everything, has access to everything with technology around the world, including nuclear missiles, and basically predicts the future, telling The Charter what to do and how to do it. And it’s this AI that is Heart Of Stone’s MacGuffin, and acquiring it is what the main villain wants.
So the main problem with Heart of stone lies in this idea. An overpowered MacGuffin that makes no sense, knows no rules, and can apparently rule and solve all the world’s problems, yet is used to – I don’t know what. Like I said, it’s not clear in the movie. Spoiler over.
Heart Of Stone fails in many ways
Aside from the flaws in the premise, the character development and overall story don’t work either. Rachel makes the mistake of questioning the AI’s methods, causing her superiors to sideline her and bench her. Not that that will stop her from continuing the mission anyway, so I’m not sure what the point was. There are some emotional arcs about how Rachel feels betrayed by people she thought cared about her based solely on the AI’s instructions, but none of that is resolved or even addressed.
Then we have Bollywood superstar Alia Bhatt making her Hollywood debut as a villain. But even her storyline and motivations aren’t clearly developed. Her reason for being a villain is revenge, but also not really. She wants the Heart to expose corruption and evildoers, but she teams up with an even more evil person to do so. And then she’s shocked to find out he’s evil. It should be mentioned in the review of Heart Of Stone that this doesn’t feel like his best work even for Jamie Dornan. Or whether he put any effort into it at all. And speaking of which –
Verdict – A lack of effort is the greatest downfall
Overall, I’ll end this Heart Of Stone review by mentioning how the entire project feels like it comes from a place of lazy writing, storytelling, and performances. While some of the action scenes feel new and exciting, the rest of – well – everything else feels like no effort was put into it. Gadot delivers a serviceable performance considering what writing and directing gives her to do. The story and premise make very little sense, and the concepts behind the main conflict pull the audience out of the story. Ultimately, it’s another disappointing entry into Netflix’s original movie library.
Heart Of Stone is now available to stream on Netflix.
What did you think of this new original film? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below. Or contact me on Twitter (X) at @theshahshahid for more movie talk.
Rating: 1/5 stars