China Moon

Madeleine Stowe must be getting tired of decorating drag-ass movies. A lesser actress wouldn't survive the indignities of Revenge, Worth Winning and Unlawful Entry. The Last of the Mohicans and Blink, hinted at intriguing depths, but only Short Cuts, for which she was named Best Supporting Actress of 1993 by the National Society of Film Critics, tapped into Stowe's rare gift for combining strength with sly wit.

China Moon won't win Stowe any prizes, but watching her is the only reason to suffer the doldrums of this self-consciously arty film noir from cinematographer turned director John Bailey. Stowe plays Rachel, the beautiful and much abused wife of Florida banker Rupert Munro (Charles Dance). The pig must go. And the erotic yearning Rachel sees in the eyes of homicide cop Kyle Bodine (the excellent Ed Harris) pegs him as the sucker who'll help her do it. If you can't figure what happens next, you've missed every thriller from The Postman Always Rings Twice to Body Heat. Though the film is loaded with mayhem, the only crime worth punishing is the waste of Stowe's talent.