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Heart of Stone uneven but enjoyable Bond-alike adventure

Heart of Stone
Gal Gadot in a scene from "Heart of Stone."Credit: Robert Viglasky/AP

Gal Gadot, a rising Hollywood star with undeniable charm and likability, has taken the lead in two Netflix action movies, “Red Notice” and “Heart of Stone.” While she’s undoubtedly made strides in her career and is deserving of her significant paycheck, there’s an air of missed opportunities when considering what else could have been done with the money.

Let’s not dismiss Gadot’s talents – she excels in roles that portray her as a strong action hero, like the invincible Diana Prince in the “Wonder Woman” series or the mastermind criminal in “Red Notice.” Her screen presence is relatable and her sincerity shines through, which has earned her a considerable fanbase. Margot Robbie praised her, saying that Gadot’s beauty doesn’t evoke jealousy, thanks to her sincere and kind nature.

Despite Gadot’s on-screen charisma, her Netflix movies, though supported by talented individuals, tend to fall flat. They come across as soulless, slick, and lacking emotional engagement. The streamer’s high-budget film projects, including those like “The Gray Man” and “6 Underground,” struggle to connect on an emotional level, failing to tap into the core of the viewer’s feelings.

“Heart of Stone,” for instance, boasts a script co-written by Allison Schroeder, known for her work on “Hidden Figures.” The director, Tom Harper, has a history of character-based dramas, yet he’s opted for a high-budget movie reliant on stunts and effects. The result is a polished, yet emotionally vacant project.

It’s not that Gadot’s films are lacking talent or effort – rather, they seem tailored for an audience with divided attention, one eye on the screen and the other on their phone. This “second screen media” phenomenon has plagued modern viewing habits, leading to movies made with the assumption that the audience will only occasionally tune in to the main action.

While Gadot’s performances and choices should be understood in the context of the industry, it’s disappointing to see such potential go underutilized. As she navigates her career, it’s worth considering the missed opportunities and what could have been achieved with the substantial budgets assigned to her projects.

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