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China Moon (1994, Ed Harris, Madeleine Stowe)



A top notch cast raises the temperature of tight, modern noir China Moon in which homicide detective ED HARRIS becomes accessory to murder after he falls for siren MADELEINE STOWE.

In the sweltering humidity of a small Florida town, lonely copper Kyle Bodine (Harris), starts sweating over glamorous but unhappy Rachel (Stowe). She’s married to banking tycoon Rupert Munro (CHARLES DANCE), an abusive sort who doubles Rachel’s misery by playing away from home. Incredibly, she starts coming on to Kyle. But no sooner have they jumped in the hay than he finds himself embroiled in a brutal murder, dumping Rupert’s body in the town lake. The tension rises as he tries to push eager rookie partner Lamar Dickey (BENICIO DEL TORO) off his trail, but blinded by his love for Rachel, he starts making costly mistakes.

Roy Carlson’s story has the lean attack of the best noirs with Larry Kasdan’s Body Heat being the most obvious informant. In his directing debut, John Bailey (who had previously been Kasdan’s favourite cinematographer), tightens the suffocating atmosphere with a gripping acceleration of pace. As The Washington Post cooed at the time of release, his film is ‘smarter than Basic Instinct and sexier too, as well as being the most stylish, most convincing love story since The Last of the Mohicans.’

Ed Harris shows once more why he’s among America’s best actors with a ‘stellar performance… bringing his customary quiet, focused intensity to a tailor-made role’ (Variety).

production details
USA | 99 minutes | 1994
Director: John Bailey
Script: Roy Carlson,

Benicio del Toro as Lamar Dickey
Madeleine Stowe as Rachel Munro
Ed Harris as Kyle Bodine
Charles Dance as Rupert Munro
Patricia Healy as Adele