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Home > Heart of Stone (2023): A Review

Heart of Stone (2023): A Review

Heart of Stone (2023): A Review

Netflix’s Latest Film is an Action-Packed Thriller Starring Several Hollywood Heavyweights But Manages to Fall Short

Heart of Stone is essentially Netflix trying to make its version of a Mission Impossible movie. The attempt fails with its overuse of special effects, bad plotlines, and underdeveloped characters; there are few redeeming qualities in Netflix’s latest original film. 

Plot

The film follows Rachel Stone (Gal Gadot), an intelligence operative who is trying to protect her agency’s most powerful and dangerous asset, known as “The Heart.” The Heart can control nearly everything around itself. From power grids to accessing top-secret information, The Heart’s capabilities are endless. It is up to Stone and her team to keep The Heart from falling into the wrong hands.  

Underdeveloped Characters 

Even though the film features well-known actors in its lead roles, the characters felt underdeveloped overall. Their backstories featured several clichés often seen in action and thriller films. Gadot’s character was a typical damaged operative with a vaguely dark past. Parker (Jamie Dornan), the film’s antagonist, can be described in the same way. Neither Stone nor Parker’s backstories were elaborated on enough, which in turn provided no real connection to the characters as a viewer. The backstories of each character lacked originally and could have had more substance as a whole.

The acting was well done across the board, but it also felt the actors did the best with what they were given. The dialogue at times didn’t flow well through the various action-packed sequences. There were parts of the plot that were over-explained, such as the supporting characters in the film, but the lead characters were not elaborated upon enough.

Despite having two accomplished actors in both lead roles, it seems Netflix didn’t give the script and overall plot a second glance. Even though Heart of Stone is categorized as an action film, the pacing felt off. Of course, there needs to be action throughout the film, but not so much that it hinders an individual’s character and relationship development. The non-stop action felt as if it was being used as a crutch to distract from bland characters. 

Throughout the Mission Impossible franchise, there is a clear divide between good and evil. Each mission is well thought-out, along with its corresponding action sequences. The action sequences in Heart of Stone often felt like an afterthought. 

Even in the first Mission Impossible, it’s clear who Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) is and why the audience should be rooting for him. It feels as if there’s no other agent that could accomplish the things Hunt does even after all that he’s forced to endure. There’s always a palpable sense of danger that leaves audiences on the edge of their seats. Rachel Stone simply felt like any other agent as if anyone could take her place. It didn’t feel as though there was any real sense of danger that she was protecting people from.

Heart of Stone (2023): A Review

Cinematography/Aesthetic

The movie as a whole felt like it was taking inspiration from the Mission Impossible franchise. But instead, it came off as a lackluster attempt with its bad CGI and terrible greenscreen. For most of his movies, Tom Cruise is known for doing most or all of his stunts. This means almost little to no CGI is used in the Mission Impossible movies. These elements of realism allow the scenes to feel more cohesive. The element of cohesiveness is something that Heart of Stone lacked.

The aesthetic of the film was interesting in theory, given that Stone travels with her team to various countries. However, once again the CGI was not well-done, causing the film as a whole not to feel authentic.

Final Rating

Overall, the movie is an action-packed thriller. Still, its overuse of CGI as well as its underdeveloped plot line and characters led to the film falling flat. 

Perhaps the movie’s one redeeming quality was the relationship between Stone and Keya (Alia Bhatt), a hacker who is working for Parker and attempting to steal The Heart. Their relationship was the most developed in the film by far. It was an excellent representation of women supporting and standing up for one another. 

Both women initially start as enemies wanting to steal The Heart from one another, but in the end, they realize they both want the same thing. Both characters have a tumultuous past, causing them to be distant and removed from their peers and coworkers. Nonetheless, Stone can see the brokenness in Keya that she possesses and sees Keya as a younger version of herself. In turn, she doesn’t want Keya to be manipulated by Parker. This allows the two of them to realize that they’re not all that different and could even help one another.

Given that Heart of Stone was a Netflix original movie, it had funding behind it. Along with its large budget, it also had well-known actors Gal Gadot and Jamie Dornan; but even with its A-list actors, the lack of plot and overall character development left Heart of Stone feeling unfinished.

Heart of Stone (2023): A Review

Heart of Stone (2023) Official Netflix Trailer

Source: Dead Talk Live

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Freelance Writer