Heart of Stone, Netflix’s next big-budget action affair, releases today, pitting Gal Gadot on another globe-trotting mission to search for a mysterious asset. The platform has carved out a niche for itself in thrillers with A-list Hollywood stars, with the actress rising up the ranks as one of the favorites, having last appeared in Red Notice, the $200 million comedy on the theft of works of art. Heart of Stone essentially builds on this legacy to form an original spy franchise for the studio that will hopefully rack up billions of viewing hours – an advantageous position given the ongoing cast and writer strikes at Hollywood has halted major film and television productions. .
Taking a leaf from Dwayne Johnson’s playbook, Gadot pulls double duty on Heart of Stone – as actress and producer – meaning she has enormous control over the direction of the film and a potential sequel, if she gets the green light. “It’s really rewarding to do both, because not only do you have a say in the project as a whole, but also your role in the film. It’s really rewarding,” she said in a prepared statement. The film also casts Bollywood star Alia Bhatt (RRR, Gangubai Kathiawadi), making its Hollywood debut, which should attract more eyes to the film, especially from India. There’s also Jamie Dornan (Fifty Shades of Grey) as a conflicted member of MI6, who makes things difficult for our protagonist.
On the surface, Rachel Stone (Gadot) appears as an inexperienced technician on an elite MI6 team led by Parker (Dornan), struggling to earn his respect for her lack of preparation. What the team doesn’t know, however, is that they are actually working for the Charter, a secret peacekeeping organization that has no political leanings and is kept secret from other spies. To achieve their goals, the team relies on a mysterious asset named: The Heart, which is described as a powerful AI that tracks the digital footprint to create data that helps predict potential global threats and provide opportunities success in thwarting them. Its mechanics are somewhat similar to the Tom Cruise-led Minority Report, in which would-be criminals were targeted before they could commit something heinous.
Claiming the heart is a mission from notorious hacker Keya Dhawan (Bhatt), who immediately takes control of Charter headquarters and threatens global stability. “If you own the heart, you own the world,” MI6 chief Parker, who himself has an idealistic vision of what the world should be, is described in the trailer. With his cover compromised, Stone embarks on a globe-trotting mission to bring back the Heart, taking part in risky maneuvers such as parachuting from snowy cliffs and parachuting onto a flying plane, attempting to stop Keya before that it is not too late.
Tom Harper, best known for directing some episodes of Peaky Blinders, is directing Heart of Stone for Netflix, which also stars familiar face Matthias Schweighöfer, who previously collaborated with Zack Snyder on Army of the Dead. Here, he plays “Jack of Hearts”, the Charter’s technical specialist who works closely with the Heart and provides reliable intelligence to spies on the ground. Oscar nominee Sophie Okenedo (Hotel Rwanda) plays the Charter’s top dog, Nomad, whose behavior can easily change in the blink of an eye, prioritizing the mission above all else.
Heart of Stone was released today on Netflix.