Heart of Stone, Netflix’s next big-budget action affair, is dropping today, pitting Gal Gadot on another globe-trotting mission to seek a mysterious asset. The platform has carved itself a niche in thrillers with A-list Hollywood stars, with the actress rising through the ranks as a favourite, having last appeared in Red Notice, the $200 million comedy about art theft. Heart of Stone essentially builds upon that legacy to form an original espionage franchise for the studio that will hopefully clock in billions of hours in watch time — an advantageous position since the ongoing actors’ and writers’ strikes in Hollywood have halted major film and TV productions.
Taking a page out of Dwayne Johnson’s playbook, Gadot is serving double duty on Heart of Stone — as an actor and producer — meaning, she has tremendous control over the direction of the movie and a potential sequel, if it gets greenlit. “It’s really fulfilling to do both, because not only do you have input over the project as a whole, but your role in the film as well. It is really rewarding,” she said in a prepared statement. The film also ropes in Bollywood star Alia Bhatt (RRR, Gangubai Kathiawadi), making her Hollywood debut, which is expected to bring more eyeballs to the film, particularly from India. There’s also Jamie Dornan (Fifty Shades of Grey) as a conflicted MI6 member, making things difficult for our protagonist.
On the surface, Rachel Stone (Gadot) appears as an inexperienced tech on an elite MI6 team led by Parker (Dornan), struggling to earn his respect for her unpreparedness. What the team doesn’t know, however, is that she actually works for the Charter, a covert peacekeeping organisation that does not have any political leanings and is kept secret from other spies. To achieve their goals, the team relies on a mysterious asset codenamed: The Heart, which is described as a powerful AI that tracks digital footprint to create data that helps predict potential global threats and deliver odds of success in thwarting them. Its mechanics are a bit similar to the Tom Cruise-led Minority Report, where potential criminals were targeted before they could do anything heinous.
Claiming the Heart is a mission for notorious hacker Keya Dhawan (Bhatt), who immediately gains control over the Charter’s headquarters and threatens global stability. “If you own the Heart, you own the world,” MI6 leader Parker described in the trailer, who himself has an idealistic way of what the world should be like. With her cover compromised, Stone heads out on a globe-trotting mission to bring the Heart back, partaking in risky manoeuvres such as parachuting off snowy cliffs and skydiving onto a flying aircraft, attempting to stop Keya before it’s too late.
Tom Harper, best known for directing some Peaky Blinders episodes, helms Heart of Stone for Netflix, which also stars a familiar face Matthias Schweighöfer, who previously collaborated with Zack Snyder on Army of the Dead. Here, he plays ‘Jack of Hearts’, the Charter’s tech specialist who works closely with the Heart and provides reliable intelligence to the spies on-field. Oscar nominee Sophie Okenedo (Hotel Rwanda) plays the Charter’s top dog Nomad, whose demeanour can easily switch in the blink of an eye — prioritising the mission above all else.
Heart of Stone is out today on Netflix.