Heart Of Stone review: ★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ : Another year and another big-budget Netflix original movie that lands with a resounding thud. Despite the best of intentions, the story, premise, performances, and everything else in 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 review.
Warning: This Heart Of Stone review will feature some spoilers.
Heart Of Stone Has Some Cool Action
Heart Of Stone sees Rachel Stone (Gal Gadot) as the tech genius of an MI6 team of spies. While Parker (Jamie Dornan) and Yang (Jung Lusi) are the actual spies who do the cool things, Rachel stays in the van typing on her keyboard. Or so we think. When something goes wrong in the opening sequence, audiences learn that Rachel is actually the cool, kick-ass spy, who is working undercover with MI6, as part of a larger covert spy organization, The Charter.
The opening action set piece is pretty cool. Rachel has to beat a sky-rail car down a snowy mountain in the Italian Alps. And she does this by grabbing a dude in a parachute that lights up, as this Artificial Intelligence tracks her optimal path down the mountain. So Rachel is parachuting down the mountain while 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 within the movie itself.
This Heart Of Stone Review Has Some Spoilers
After the fake-out, we learn that Rachel works for The Charter, a covert spy network of ex-intelligence agents who don’t work for any government but just act on their own. What they do, or how, or why and what their ultimate mission statement is, is pretty unclear throughout the movie. “Putting out fires”, is kind of the only explanation we get about 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 little odd and confusing.
Keep in mind that the following will feature some minor spoilers about Heart Of Stone. The Heart is apparently an AI that knows everything, plans everything, has access to anything with technology all over 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 the MacGuffin of Heart Of Stone, and acquiring it is what the main villain wants.
So the main issue with Heart Of Stone lies in this idea. An overpowered MacGuffin that makes no sense, has no rules, and can apparently rule and solve all the world’s problems, yet it’s used to— I don’t know what. As I mentioned, it’s not clear in the movie. Spoiler over.
Heart Of Stone Fails In Many Respects
Outside of the flaws in its premise, the character development and overall story also don’t work. Rachel makes the mistake of questioning the AI’s methods, to which her superiors sideline and bench her. Not that that stops her from continuing the mission anyway, so not sure what the point was. There are some emotional arcs of how Rachel feels betrayed by people she thought cared about her, solely based 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 developed clearly. Her reason for being a villain is revenge, but also, not really. She wants the Heart to expose corruption and evil-doers, but she partners with an even worse evil person to do so. And then is shocked when she finds out he’s evil. The Heart Of Stone review has to mention that even for Jamie Dornan, this doesn’t feel like his best work. Or that he’s even put any effort into it. And speaking of which—
Verdict- A Lack Of Effort Is The Main Downfall
Overall, I 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 action sequences feel new and exciting, the rest of—well— everything else, feels like there was no effort put into them. Gadot gives a serviceable performance given what the writing and directing gives her to do. The story and premise make very little sense, and the concepts behind the main conflict pull audiences out of the story. Ultimately, it’s another disappointing entry to Netflix’s original movie library.
Heart Of Stone is now streaming on Netflix.
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Rating: 1/5 stars