Netflix’s Heart of Stone 2023 is a fast-paced, heart-thumping thriller film moving fast through the world of action, drama, intelligence and bureaucracy with characters bringing the film to life with pseudonyms from a deck of cards. While each card is the pseudonym of an elite intelligence agent (a rather charming concept), the film moves fast through the plot of intelligence agents trying to save the world as they know it from the abilities of a supercomputer gone very wrong.

As with all action-packed thrillers, there is wry humor to carry forward the protagonist’s journey. In this case, we see Gal Gadot’s character, the initially elusive Rachel Stone a.k.a Nine of Hearts (Gal Gadot) barrage through obstacles to try and capture an arms dealer, which results in discovering a wolf in sheep’s clothing in her own close circles. When circumstances push her to the limit, unlikely associations turn hostile and everything turns for the worse bringing the viewers on a gripping journey, rooting for a beautiful friendship.

What is the Film About?

The film brings the viewers a familiar feel of action with a perfect feminine Bond emulation. The plot remains strong due to the protagonist’s stance as a former Elite Intelligence ace hacker known as Nine of Hearts or Rachel Stone (Gal Gadot) to her close team. She champions The Charter’s cause of trying to bust and capture an arms dealer when she suddenly discovers a hacker Keya Dhawan (Alia Bhatt) interfering with the op resulting in Stone and her team losing their suspect in custody.

Nomad a.k.a King of Hearts (Sophie Okenodo) is Stone’s handler, mentor and Chief of The Charter, carefully crafting a path ahead for Stone alone. When Stone faces an unexpected enemy in Parker (Jamie Dornan), an MI5 agent, Stone’s operation turns for the worse. Parker is trying to use Keya Dhawan, a 22-year-old hacker from Pune, to insert a master skeleton key into The Heart, an AI instrument of the next generation that tracks all human movements to minimize risk to Intelligence agents on the field and an instrumental tool that the Charter operates to oversee all Intelligence operations.

With this key, he controls all the powers that be. Governments, institutions and people in high places. Initially, Stone and Dhawan are on two different sides. Dhawan’s morals come to question Parker’s ideas when he uses the Key for disagreeable drastic measures. Dhawan’s future and safety lie in the balance and the choice she makes after this mission changes everything for her.

Alia Bhatt’s Hollywood Debut Marries Well With Gal Gadot’s Role Despite Disappointing Dialogues:

The film is a very close connection to the recently released Mission Impossible: Dead Reckoning Part One. While the MI clan only seeks to master stunt cinematography and Tom Cruise pushes all limits to put his crew’s stomachs in their mouths, Heart of Stone is palatable with a low-grade dialogue delivery. Alia’s onscreen presence seems uncomfortable initially but then finds its foundation towards the end. This helps us with hoping the sequel fits her in better and uses her talents to the maximum.

Director Tom Harper brings a brilliantly shot film together and keeps us hooked right to the end with the extreme stunts and action cinematography making us feel it is truly a worthwhile watch. Look out for Gal Gadot’s ability to strengthen her resolve when all her options have run out. She remains one of the rare gems that has secured her place in the genre of action films. Jamie Dornan’s performance as an antagonist is one to relish as well, while Alia’s onscreen presence with him is exactly what it needs to be. Smaller with unseen power, something she embodies in real life.

While the film tries to project what Supercomputers can do for us in the future, AI is already surfacing as a concept in films to crystal ball what our future could be. Uncertain, to say the least. Overall, the film is not a waste of two hours. The plot is sound and the film, as a whole, is quite entertaining. Worthwhile for your weekend watch.


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