China Moon (1991) Poster

(1991)

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  • Veteran detective Kyle Bodine (Ed Harris) falls for Rachel Munro (Madeleine Stowe), the wife of wealthy but abusive banker Rupert Munro (Charles Dance). Hoping to get away from Rupert, Rachel plans his murder and, when she subsequently does kill Rupert, she turns to Kyle to help her cover it up. Although reluctant at first, Kyle eventually helps her to clean up the mess and hide the body but begins to sweat when his rookie partner Lamar Dickey (Benicio Del Toro) starts noticing clues and inconsistencies that tie Kyle to the murder.

  • China Moon was filmed from a screenplay written by Roy Carlson.

  • The title refers to the full moon. When Kyle and Rachel go skinny-dipping in Lake Camille, Kyle points out the full white moon and says that his grandmother called it a China Moon, because it looks like a giant china dish. His grandmother thought a China Moon made people do crazy things.

  • Also noticing the inconsistencies between the stories and the facts, Kyle extracts a confession from Rachel. She tells him that Rupert was going to leave her with nothing, so Lamar Dickie told her how to set up Rupert's death, including where to meet Kyle, but that she tried to get out of it when she fell in love with Kyle. He orders her to set up a meeting with Lamar at J.J.'s, the bar where they met. There, he confronts Dickie and points out Dickie's stupid mistakes, i.e., the compass on the dash appearing in the photos he shot of Rupert and Adele (Patricia Healy) and switching Kyle's .38 service revolver with another one Dickie then used to fire two bullets, one into the wall and the other into sand, which is the bullet he used to switch with the 9mm bullet during the autopsy. Kyle then pulls his replacement gun on Dickie and asks where his service revolver is. Dickie says that it's in his car, under the driver's seat, so they go outside. As Kyle is searching for his revolver, the police arrive, having been notified by the bartender who saw Kyle pull his gun on Dickie. Dickie yells that Kyle has a gun, and the police open fire on Kyle. Rachel, having seen everything from inside the bar, rushes to Kyle's side. Crying, she cradles him in her arms as he dies. In the final scene, Rachel picks up Kyle's gun and fires two bullets into Dickie.

  • China Moon is most often compared to Body Heat (1981) (1981), which is based on a similar plot where a woman uses a cop/lawyer as a pawn in a ploy to murder her rich husband and end up with his money.

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