Title: Heart of Stone
Director: Tom Harper
Cast: Gal Gadot, Jamie Dornan, Alia Bhatt, Paul Ready, Enzo Cilenti, Jing Lusi, Sophie Okonedo, Matthias Schweighofer, BD Wong, Glenn Close, Mark Ivanir
Streaming on: Netflix
Rating: 3 Stars
Set in a modern-techno-rich world loaded with action-packed sequences, betrayals, deceptions, and manipulations, some breezy and entertaining, while others are staid and generic, director Tom Harper’s Heart of Stone appears like a run-of-the-mill espionage thriller.
But what sets it apart is the fabulous star cast that keeps you glued to the screen. You sit in anticipation, wondering who among them has a heart of stone.
But here, the titular heart of stone is a cutting-edge AI. “It’s the most formidable weapon you never knew existed,” explains one of the characters in the film. “It can hack into anything, anywhere – cell phones, power grids, the banks, governments, military, health records, and your secrets. It knows you better than you know yourself. Its determination is so accurate that it can predict the future. If you own the heart, you own the world.”
This powerful weapon is used by The Charter – a mysterious covert force consisting of “highly trained agents working together to keep peace in a turbulent world.” It gives them power.
The plot gathers momentum after a mysterious hacker Keya Dhawan (Alia Bhatt), infiltrates the system and threatens the Charter’s entire operation. How a team of skilled and highly trained MI6 agents led by Parker (Jamie Dornan) and whose subordinate is Rachel Stone (Gal Godot) get involved in preventing “The Heart” from getting into the wrong hands forms the crux of the narrative.
The theme of this cracking thriller despite being staid, appears fresh and engaging.
This film belongs to Gal Gadot. It is purely her canvas. She rules the marque with her poise, gait, and action-packed stunts. She is apt as the fearless Rachel Stone and is on par with James from James Bond films or Jason from the Bourne Series.
Despite Gadot being brilliant in the film, your heart melts for the versatile Alia Bhatt, who plays the 22-year-old orphan Keya Dhawan. Her character is the only one that has an emotional back story.
The charismatic Jamie Dornan as the icy-veined manipulator Parker is engaging.
The trio is aptly supported by Paul Ready, who essays the role of Stone’s friend Max Bailey, the MI6 driver and comms operative, Jing Lusi as MI6’s sharpshooter Theresa Yang, Matthias Schweighofer as the Charter’s tech specialist “Jack of Hearts,” and Sophie Okonedo as Nomad whose code name is “King of Hearts,” they all are natural and deliver good performances.
The film, mounted with ace production values, is shot across England, Portugal, Senegal, and Iceland. George Steel’s cinematography brilliantly captures the landscape and jaw-dropping stunts and action sequences. The music elevates the viewing experience.
Overall, the film is engrossing and a little moving.