Heart of Stone
Starting an action movie with some action? Not a bad idea. An itchily long stream of almost pure action with just a hint of exposition before the title sequence emerges? It’s rather a rich appetiser, but for fans of the genre it might go down alright.
Heart of Stone is Netflix’s latest addition to the teetering mountain of spies-doing-daring-things-themed material cinema has been nurturing for decades, and it… conforms. All the boxes are ticked: twists, betrayal, unlikely physical feats, lackeys who cannot shoot good guys accurately for love nor money, an entirely fictitious representation of computer science – it’s all there.
Okay, Heart of Stone may not be a standout masterpiece of the genre, but it is in fact a solid film. The plot is involving, the majority of the characters are compelling, the script is neither too silly nor overly earnest, and there are a couple of passable quips thrown in. A few zany creative additions to the edit come off as a tacky finish, but a tacky finish to a solid product. Gal Gadot impresses in the role of ceaselessly heroic lead Rachel Stone, bringing a depth to the character that never seemed likely (Stone lacks the standard big flaw to lean on; she just cracks on with being unremittingly excellent).
There’s a good appetite for this sort of thing. It’s thorough but relatable escapism, entirely ridiculous and inconceivable events happening but in the world we apparently know. In this regard, Netflix and director Tom Harper have found success. This story may be slightly baffling (verging on bonkers upon occasion), but it is engaging and it does zip along at an enthralling pace. Largely sticking to the Action Film 1.0 model has panned out quite entertainingly in Heart of Stone: an impressive feat, and – goodness me – what a gifted spy.
Heart of Stone is released in select cinemas and on Netflix on 11th August 2023.
Watch the trailer for Heart of Stone here: