‘Heart Of Stone’: Cast & Crew
Director: Tom Harper
Cast: Gal Gadot, Jamie Dornan, Alia Bhatt, Sophie Okonedo, Jing Lusi, Paul Ready, Jon Kortajarena, Archie Madekwe, Matthias Schweighöfer, BD Wong, Glenn Close, Mark Ivanir
Available On: Netflix
Duration: 2 Hours 3 Minutes
‘Heart Of Stone’: Story
An intelligence operative (Gal Gadot) for a shadowy global peacekeeping agency, races to stop a rogue MI6 agent (Jamie Dornan) and hacker (Alia Bhatt) from stealing its most valuable and dangerous weapon. Will the operative be able to save this shadow agency? Will the shadow agency get exposed to the world in the pursuit? Will the hacker be able to overpower the operative? Will the rogue agent finally realise his mistakes? Or will there be eventual doom for all humankind? Well, for all that you’ll have to watch ‘Heart Of Stone’.
‘Heart Of Stone’: Performances
Gal Gadot carries the entire film on her shoulders. She is the one who’s there in pretty much every frame of the movie. There is a way in which she does action onscreen which is loved by audiences so much, and she proves it once again here with ‘Heart Of Stone’. The hi-flying action stunts which she has managed to pull off make her look like a female Ethan Hunt from the ‘Mission Impossible’ series. However, Tom Cruise’s ‘Mission Impossible’ films always have him portray numerous emotions onscreen, which is sadly missing here in Gal Gadot’s character. There isn’t anything more to the character than action, and Gal Gadot manages to master that part pretty well. So, no complaints!
Alia Bhatt is surprisingly decent. Even though her character is constantly playing second fiddle to Jamie Dornan, she somehow comes out better than him in the film. However, from an acting point of view, there isn’t a lot that’s new for Alia. The flinching and changing coming-of-age sort of emotions is something that she has pulled off in the past with aplomb in films like ‘Raazi’. Even though the characters are poles apart, the emotional character arc of both have a similarity, and that’s why Alia so nicely fits into this character. Considering now tables have turned for the character, a lot more would be expected from her in the sequels of the film.
Jamie Dornan tries to flaunt his sinister side with aplomb but he isn’t able to get that villainous streak out. Something that he did so brilliantly in ‘The Fall’. His screen time is also less in comparison to what a negative lead should have had.
Despite having some great names in the supporting cast, there is nothing that stands out. Names like Sophie Okonedo, Matthias Schweighöfer, BD Wong, Glenn Close, Mark Ivanir and many others have been absolutely wasted.
‘Heart Of Stone’: Script, Direction & Technical Aspects
Greg Rucka and Allison Schroeder’s writing is what kills the grip of the film. Action thrillers like this strive on giving the viewers multiple twists and turns that can force them to jump out of their seats. Sadly, barring a single twist, there isn’t any more twists and turns in the plot. To add to that, there are too many loose ends. For example (Spoilers Ahead), Gal Gadot is working as a double agent as she works for MI6 as well as she works for a shadow agency. Once her identity is exposed as the shadow agency’s agent, there is no mention thenceforth about her career in the MI6. The MI6 isn’t spoken of at all throughout the rest of the movie, which feels quite demeaning for such an elite intelligence agency.
Tom Harper’s direction is the saving grace of this film. The way he manages to use visual effects to perfection is brilliant. Whether they’re the hi-flying action sequences or aerial shots of jumping out of a plane or the entire parachute scene – everything was very well sewn together to the plot. He brings together some of the most difficult action sequences and keeps the believability intact. Even though you know that this is humanly not possible, yet, you’re so drawn into the action sequences that you’re relishing every moment.
George Steel’s cinematography is a high point of the film. In such action thrillers there’s hardly much story and more action sequences put together. Steel has ensured that these action sequences are so well shot that you’re not left missing a defining background story. The action is so well executed that you’re left wondering which was shot in real and which was done with visual effects.
Mark Eckersley’s editing is decent. With so many action sequences laden back-to-back it’s very difficult to not have any jump cuts and make it looks seamless. Eckersley has managed to get that perfectly. However, the run time has gone beyond 2 hours, which isn’t pretty much the norm in today’s time, especially for a slick actioner like ‘Heart Of Stone’.
Every spy film in this genre has a defining music or a background theme which becomes popular and becomes the talking point for years together. ‘James Bond’ has it. ‘Mission Impossible’ has it. Even the recent ‘Jack Ryan’, ‘The Gray Man’ and ‘Citadel’ had it. Sadly, there’s nothing like that in ‘Heart Of Stone’. Steven Price’s music isn’t something that makes you want to hold onto the music for future films in the franchise.
‘Heart Of Stone’: Can Kids Watch It?
‘Heart Of Stone’ attempts to be the next ‘Mission Impossible’. It’s not that it falls flat on its face, but it doesn’t manage to get to that level as well. What’s sad is that this seems to be the start of a franchise but with a lot of loose ends. The makers are indeed planning to tie those up in the sequels, but that kills a bit of the fun of watching this film. To add to that, not putting more twists and turns was a massive mistake. Thankfully the thrill is still intact and the performances are overall good. That saves the film from being a massive dud. If you’re a fan of slick actioners, this is an Average Watch, but sadly this is no ‘Mission Impossible’. I am going with 2.5 stars.