‘Heart of Stone’: A Glittering Gal Gadot Adventure, Yet Lacking Soul

In the world of Hollywood stardom, Gal Gadot’s presence shines bright, gracing the screens of Netflix with action-packed performances in movies like “Red Notice” and “Heart of Stone.” While her journey to fame and the paycheck reportedly in the realm of $20 million for each film is commendable, it prompts a thought-provoking question:

Hats off to Gadot for breaking the glass ceiling and securing a paycheck equal to her male counterparts in the industry.

One can’t help but ponder about the alternative paths Netflix could have paved with those funds, nurturing Israeli productions that might have bloomed.

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Gadot, a talented actress, has carved a niche for herself, specializing in roles that embody the indomitable spirit of action heroes. From the iconic Wonder Woman to the enigmatic mastermind in “Red Notice” and the formidable super-spy Rachel Stone in “Heart of Stone,” her characters exude relatable charm. (Side note to Netflix: Crafting a title around a lead character’s name has seldom led to cinematic triumphs.)

In a fitting tribute, Margot Robbie once voiced why Gadot could have embodied Barbie, and yet, the industry landscape favored diversity, granting the stage to both talents: Gadot’s ethereal beauty is matched only by her genuine sincerity and an endearing kindness that radiates almost playfully.

Gadot’s journey, much like Margot Robbie’s, is a tale of empowerment and self-determination. While the allure of Cleopatra captivates, the Hollywood star’s exploration of Hedy Lamarr’s legacy intrigues even more, shifting the spotlight towards the silver screen’s more nuanced facets.

Ironically, despite Gadot’s relatable magnetism, her Netflix endeavors like “Red Notice” and “Heart of Stone” echo a sentiment of soullessness, opulent yet void of emotional resonance. Perhaps a more fitting title for the latter could have been “Devoid of Heart.”

Despite the brilliance behind the scenes, including the likes of Christiaan Bettridge and Eniko Fulop who choreographed Gadot’s stunts, and Allison Schroeder, the co-writer of acclaimed “Hidden Figures,” and the film’s director, the talented Tom Harper, the essence somehow dissipates in the glitzy spectacle.

Tom Harper’s trajectory, from character-driven narratives to high-budget spectacles, mirrors the shifting tides of an industry where pragmatism often tempers artistic pursuits. Nevertheless, his foray into the world of “Heart of Stone” delivers what’s anticipated, catering to a market that thrives on action-packed indulgence.

The allure of second screen media, where the film coexists with a viewer’s digital interactions, adds a layer of complexity to modern movie consumption. This phenomenon, a decade in the making, now shapes cinematic craftsmanship, ushering in an era where the viewer’s attention may sway between screens, demanding moments of awe and intrigue.

As the credits roll on “Heart of Stone,” one wonders if the grandeur could have elicited a different response on the big screen. Alas, even a theatrical release in London left a viewer unimpressed, asserting that it was an experience worse than “Red Notice.”

In a curious twist, a new breed of heroes emerges on screen: covert spies turned saviors, a fresh take on the superhero narrative. A response, perhaps, to a fatigue from caped crusaders, these unsung champions grapple with global threats in more discrete ways.

Amidst the glitz, Gadot’s action-packed role draws parallels to the venerable Jason Statham, another master of a singular craft. In a parallel universe, these two old-school Hollywood stars might resemble a chuck steak masquerading as a human, portraying one role with steadfast dedication.

In the cinematic spectrum, triumphs and missteps are woven together, and “Heart of Stone” plays its part. Yet, for both Gadot and Statham, their devoted fan bases continue to bask in the comfort of their signature performances, celebrating a partnership that thrives.

For those of us seeking a deeper cinematic experience, the search continues, knowing that amidst the lavish spectacles, true cinematic gems might still await discovery.