China Moon is a slick noir thriller, nice to look at, well-acted and directed, but ultimately predictable, even to its "surprise" ending. Kyle Bodine (Ed Harris) falls in love with Rachel Munro (Madeleine Stowe), the unhappily married wife of a drunken Southern aristocrat Rupert (Charles Dance). One night, tired of his beatings and abuse, Rachel kills Rupert, apparently in self-defense. Kyle helps her cover-up the crime and establish an alibi. However, Kyle's young partner Lamar (Benecio Del Toro) suspects Rachel of the murder and begins an investigation. In fairly predictable plot twists reminiscent of the far superior Body Heat Kyle finds his life falling apart. While the plot is contrived, the performances are convincing, particularly that of Madeline Stowe as the treacherous Rachel. Ed Harris gives the character of Kyle depth and complexity. Cinematographer-turned-director John Bailey gives the film a great, dark, rain-slicked noir look and feel and lingers on details which take an otherwise predictable mystery/thriller and make it seem like a game of wits.
by Linda Rasmussen synopsis