Heart of Stone (2023) follows Rachel Stone, an intelligence operative, who stands as the sole woman covering and protecting her global peacekeeping organization from the potential loss of its most precious and dangerous asset. Directed by Tom Harper, the Netflix film is a recent inclusion in the realm of high-speed spy action thrillers (despite its intended 2-hour duration, it took me 5 hours to complete). The movie stars our own ‘Wonder Woman‘ Gal Gadot, Anastasia Steele’s Mr. Grey – Jamie Dornan, and Bollywood powerhouse Alia Bhatt in the leading roles.

The action thriller frequently led me to consider whether the Bond era has influenced directors to make espionage films primarily for fan service. Despite having no connection to the Bond franchise, Heart of Stone felt like background noise following its initial twist. The revelation of the character’s arc could have been more interesting, and Gal Gadot’s well-written character had little to support due to her acting credibility.

With so many spy movies infiltrating the Netflix library, the narratives seem redundant in their concepts and action choreography. Much like Nolan’s recent Oppenheimer or Tom Cruise’s MI: Dead Reckoning, Heart of Stone also narrates a tale of seizing control over a potent technological weapon, driven by humanity’s inclination to dominate their surroundings, leading to potential devastation.

*Spoiler Alert*

Heart of Stone (2023) ‘Netflix’ Movie Synopsis & Plot Summary:

The film begins with a pulsating moment when Rachel Stone writes a new access code so her other team members, Parker and Theresa, can crash into the party filled with world-class fugitives. Mulvaney, who is notoriously Europe’s most wanted arms dealer, is making his first-ever public appearance in 3 years and has been discreetly placing bets (like many others) on real-time US Navy military operatives in action.

The MI6 operatives, who were aware of Mulvaney’s gambling habits, did not realize the actions taking place underground. They intend to take him down; however, when their plan doesn’t go as they imagined and the arms dealer tries to flee the scene, things become chaotic. Theresa tries to clear the path for Parker to follow Mulvaney before he makes his way out. In the meanwhile, their comms get compromised when a mysterious woman states that she shuts their system down when they interrupt her plans.

A series of poorly choreographed action sequences later, Parker takes Mulvaney as his hostage, taking him inside a cable car, while Theresa and Bailey try to reach the endpoint to avoid an ambush by Mulvaney’s men. When Theresa asks Stone to follow her, she pretends to have hurt her leg while running the scene and asks them to go after Parker.

Who is Rachel Stone?

Rachel Stone, also known as Nine of Hearts, connects with Jack from a specialized headquarters that the MI6 team is apparently unaware of. It turns out that Stone is an undercover MI6 operative on a mission of her own with bigger agendas. Using high technology that enables Jack to see through the environment Stone (aka Nine) is in, he instructs her on the dangerous but quickest route to reach Parker before other MI6 agents arrive at the location.

Navigating through challenging terrain that includes paragliding and motorcycling across treacherous snow-clad mountains, Stone adeptly kills all the hostile men before Parker, and his team can reach the designated point. Mulvaney intakes a cyanide pill to avoid getting caught and ends his life on the spot, leaving the MI6 operatives disappointed with their unsuccessful mission.

What is The Charter?

At MI6 headquarters, the agents are tasked with finding more information about the girl (whom they know is working with Charter) who infiltrated their system. During their discussion about the recent events, Bailey highlights that Charter is essentially a consortium of highly specialized agents who are ex-intelligence operatives.

These agents answer only to themselves, devoid of any national allegiances or political leanings. They operate on cases that their respective governments never sanctioned, collaborating to maintain peace in a tumultuous world. While Parker remains skeptical about the existence of Charters, Theresa raises a question: if such an organization truly exists, then why did this girl interrupt their mission?

Who is Keya Dhawan?

Stone visits the Hearts team HQ, where she meets with Jack and Nomad, the head of Hearts HQ. They engage in a discussion regarding Keya Dhawan. Keya, a young girl from an underprivileged community in Pune, India, was noticed by Niam Kharche, a billionaire investor known for organizing IT workshops. He mentored her, but they eventually had a falling out, which led to Keya’s disappearance and her involvement with criminal elements.

What is The Heart?

Jack elaborates that the Casino of Blood (the underground gambling as we saw earlier) was Keya’s set-up to lure Mulvaney due to his gambling habits. Her objective was to acquire a new weapon, a quantum computer with the capability to hack into any system, anywhere.

This weapon, codenamed “The Heart,” serves as the cornerstone of Rachel Stone’s team’s operations. This quantum program empowers the Hearts HQ to access real-time details and events unfolding across the globe with the purpose to counteract the adversaries that challenge the efforts of all intelligence operations units.

Operation Lisbon and Keya Dhawan:

Based on The Hearts’ prediction, Keya is en route to Lisbon for the opening of Club Moritz. Nomad states that the Hearts will disclose her location to MI6 to reactivate the operation. Although Stone maintains reservations about Keya’s intentions, she is assigned to proceed with the mission against Keya Dhawan. Meanwhile, Stone sends a cryptic message to Keya, inquiring about her motives. However, Keya remains mysterious and tells Stone to look out for her next move.

With their operation reinstated, MI6 agents, including Stone, join in Lisbon, where we can see tension between Parker and Stone. After settling into their hotel room, the team shares a lovely moment of dancing before heading out on their mission. However, they are suddenly ambushed by hostile assailants who have arrived there to kill them.

Amid the chaos, Stone connects with Jack and receives immediate instructions to evacuate the building using the transmitted exit routes. However, despite Jack’s warnings of blowing her cover, Stone, who has a change of heart, chooses to go inside to rescue her injured teammates, whom the attackers outnumber.

She singlehandedly fights off all the attackers, shocking her team members. Following a 7-minute car chase action sequence, Stone successfully drives the team away from the pursuing attackers, who eventually give up as the team escapes.

At this point, Parker, Bailey, and Theresa press Stone for explanations regarding her unexpected abilities and if she is a part of The Charter and working with Keya Dhawan. 

Heart of Stone – Alia Bhatt as Keya Dhawan in Heart Of Stone. Cr. Robert Viglasky/Netflix © 2023.

Why did Parker kill Bailey and Theresa?

Under pressure to reveal more about herself, Stone states that The Charter is also pursuing Keya but can’t divulge further details. Before Bailey and Theresa can fully process this information, Parker suddenly draws his gun and shoots both of them.

Stone is left stunned, realizing that Parker might have a connection to The Charter, as he refrained from shooting her. It turns out Parker and Keya have teamed up together to seize The Heart, the linchpin of The Charter organization.

Together they established the Blood Casino to extract information from Mulvaney, who revealed that the Heart is the world’s most powerful weapon, capable of starting or ending global conflicts without further resources.

Parker appointed Stone to his team to learn the Heart’s whereabouts, as he knew her background with The Charter. He then sedates Stone making her unconscious in a plan to be able to trace the location of Charter’s HQ, where the Heart is located.

What is Stone’s next move?

At Heart HQ, when the systems are breached due to the tracker injected by Parker into Stone, Nomad feels that their mission has been severely compromised due to Stone’s rational actions back in Lisbon.

Nomad immediately suspends Stone, leaving her to fend for herself. While making her way to a secure location, Keya makes contact with Stone and learns that Stone’s coworkers have been killed due to her actions. Stone determined to avenge the death of her only friends, warns Keya of her future.

Why does Parker want to destroy The Charter?

Later, we see Nomad’s meeting with the other Charter members, known as the ‘four kings,’ who have held positions within The Charter for a long time. During their discussion about Parker, the other members reveal that prior to Nomad getting into the picture; Parker was affiliated with a faction in Chechnya.

Within this group, he had served as a member of the MI6 operatives’ team. The Chechen and Russian governments had granted unchecked authority to a warlord from Chechnya, who was openly responsible for killing civilians. Despite this, the Western nations had turned a blind eye to his actions for an extended period.

Meanwhile, Parker, operating under a new identity and with no official records, was positioned within the MI6 to provide crucial supplies for taking the warlord down.

The Charters intercepted a message intended for the MI6, but it turned out to be a trap. Tragically, the entire MI6 team was wiped out, leaving no survivors. The Charters recognized that the region was on the brink of descending into civil war. Fearing that the warlord might gain control of weapons and endanger the lives of countless people, they launched a missile strike, creating the illusion that rebel forces had destroyed the location. This led to Parker severing ties with The Charters due to their actions, leaving him with no choice but to seek revenge.

Is Stone able to stop Keya and Parker from stealing The Heart?

Meanwhile, Keya confronts Parker regarding the deaths of Theresa and Bailey. Simultaneously, Stone traces their location through Bailey’s laptop, following their trail to a remote location in South Africa.

Back at Heart HQ, panic occurs as the team realizes the breach in their highly advanced security system, which guards the Heart locker against any likely adversaries. This locker is situated within a massive floating plane positioned 40,000 feet above sea level.

However, Keya and Parker manage to access the locker before anyone can respond.

Before Nomad and her team can set a plan, they spot Stone already in pursuit, determined to stop the two vigilantes. Landing smoothly like a Superman, Stone immediately fights Parker, who tries to distract her from interrupting Keya from obtaining full access to the Heart’s mainframe. With only 90 seconds left to escape the floating plane before the bomb blasts, Stone follows Keya and Parker. Clinging on the climbing rope tied to the helicopter, Stone cuts off the rope, falling deep in the middle of the African desserts after getting hold of Keya.

After landing in the heart of the Senegal desert, Stone and Keya walk along, engaging in casual conversation. It is when we learn that Keya’s actions are driven by her revenge against Kharche, who once mentored her but exploited Keya’s parents as subjects to his experiments. Similarly, Stone also has a history of a fractured upbringing until when The Charter took her under their wing, shaping her into the person she has become.

To their surprise, they get a free ride to the village; however, Parker’s men and the local shooters ambush the vehicle that leaves Stone and Keya to get separated.

Amidst the gunfire, Stone is left with no choice but to seek cover and leaps into the sea.

The scene then swiftly moves to a serene Icelandic backdrop as Jack tracks Parker and Keya (earlier, Stone put a tracker on her jacket) to Reykjavik University computer lab, which has a cryo-storage facility with several floors of servers.

While Stone heads towards the lab, simultaneously, we see Keya and Parker initiating the Heart in their system, gaining complete access to its power. While Keya searches through Kharche’s detailed information, Parker instructs his other agents to locate the ‘Kings’ of Charter and orders them to kill each of them.

Keya is visibly disturbed by Parker’s shift in strategy, which deviates from their original agreement when forming the team. Seeing Parker’s involvement in the deaths of innocent individuals intended to sabotage the Charter, she begins questioning her partnership with a man with so much power in his hands.

Heart of Stone (2023) ‘Netflix’ Movie Ending Explained:

Is Stone able to save Nomad and Keya from Parker?

Coming to a realization of the mistake she had committed, Keya discreetly sets up a device designed to disable the Heart, thus completely cutting off Parker’s access to it. In the meantime, she also contacts Stone and reveals the entirety of the situation, suggesting that she was right about Parker all this time, prompting Stone to immediately head back and rescue Keya upon receiving the precise coordinates of her location.

On the other front, as Nomad’s operational station becomes locked and the oxygen supply is severed due to Parker’s intent of eliminating all the ‘kings,’ she decides to reach out to Stone using a landline—the sole mode of communication left in the building to reach out.

With only 50 minutes on the clock to save Keya and rescue Nomad’s team, Stone races against time to get to the computer lab. Meanwhile, Parker manages to capture Keya, who has been hiding from him. He takes her back to the lab to reactivate the Heart.

Noticing a hint from Stone, Keya reluctantly agrees to cooperate, manipulating Parker into accompanying her to the mainframe room to be able to reprogram the Heart’s mainframe.

However, once inside the room, Stone stealthily follows them. A verbal confrontation ensues between Stone and Parker, centered on the Charter’s inefficiency despite holding immense power, which led Parker to take drastic steps. At the same time, Stone reminds him about the dangers of having too much power will lead to the downfall of humanity.

Tensions escalate into a fight between the two, with Stone ultimately ending Parker’s life with a firearm. Just in the nick of time, Stone successfully rescues Keya, Nomad, and her team. Moreover, Stone manages to stop Parker’s action of misusing the power of the Heart to take innocent lives.

Will there be Heart of Stone 2?

Four weeks later, we find Stone meeting up with Keya, who appears to have discussed the possibility of serving time in jail with her lawyers. When Keya inquires whether Stone has returned to The Charter, she outlines two conditions. The first one asserts that while the Heart is an incredible tool, relying solely on it for mission success is risky. The second condition involves Keya joining Stone’s team as she hands her a ‘joker’ card. 

The ending of the Netflix film “Heart of Stone” reveals a new team led by Stone, with Keya accepting the role of the tech genius and Jack as the man behind the wheel. Given the current trends in espionage-themed movies, the potential for a sequel, “Heart of Stone 2,” seems plausible if the creators compose another storyline for future installments. The film concludes with Keya granting Stone entry access, heading to crash a grand party, hinting at another thrilling adventure involving power, politics, and crime.

Read More: 5 Movies & TV Shows That You Didn’t Know Gal Gadot Was a Part Of

Heart of Stone (2023) Netflix Movie Trailer

Heart of Stone (2023) Movie Links: IMDb, Rotten Tomatoes
Heart of Stone (2023) Movie Cast: Gal Gadot, Jamie Dornan, Alia Bhatt, Jing Lusi, Paul Ready, Matthias Schweighöfer, Sophie Okonedo
Where to watch Heart of Stone

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