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China Moon

movie reviewmovie reviewmovie review out of 4 Movie Review: China Moon

Starring: Ed Harris, Madeleine Stowe
Director: John Bailey
Rated: R
RunTime: 99 Minutes
Release Date: March 1994
Genres: Mystery, Suspense

*Also starring: Charles Dance, Benicio Del Toro, Pruitt Taylor Vince, Roger Aaron Brown, Patricia Healy

Review by Steve Rhodes
3 stars out of 4

CHINA MOON is a poor mystery but a good mood piece by director John Bailey. It reminds you of a sultry melodrama from the 50s, but rather than being a caricature, it is a fresh portrait. It is easy to go with the flow of this picture and really enjoy it. It never taxes your brain, but it does put you in the mood of the story.

The real reason to see CHINA MOON, however, has nothing to do with this "mood thing". Go see it if you like movies with two very sensuous leads a la BODY HEAT but better. Madeleine Stowe and Ed Harris light up the screen. The romance is better than the last show (BLINK) that Stowe was in although I must admit BLINK was better overall because its mystery worked.

Just watching Stowe before she speaks is a joy. Reminds me of Shakespeare's "She speaks, yet she says nothing; what of that?". When she delivers her words, her intonation of each seems to roll off her tongue. An excellent actress I hope to see in many more roles. Ed Harris, whom I do not remember seeing in a romantic part before, is her equal. He is living proof that life does not end in your 20s or 30s.

The script by Roy Carlson will present a problem for many viewers. It is easy to listen to the dialog and think this is pretentious and kind of ridiculous. Alternatively, you can view it as, well, poetic. I am in the latter category. The nighttime cinematography (Willy Kurant) is impressive. Made me want to wait for dark and for a lake to see if it was really that lovely and dreamy.

The studio has had this movie on the shelf for a while. The copyright was 1991. I read that only after BLINK did so well, did they dust it off.

CHINA MOON runs an easy 1:33. It is rated R, but I think it is fine for teenagers. I recommend this to you and award it ***. If you have a romantic or a poetic side, I especially recommend it to you.

Copyright 1995 Steve Rhodes

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