A romantic thriller set against the political backdrop of 1965 Jakarta, on the eve of a Communist coup against Sukarno, the Indonesian President. Australian reporter Guy Hamilton (Mel Gibson) is shown the ropes by his Chinese-Australian photographer Billy Kwan (Oscar-winning Linda Hunt). Billy introduces Hamilton to the city's poverty and corruption and to Jill Byrant (Sigourney Weaver), a British Embassy attache with whom Guy begins a romance. When Jill finds out about the planned coup, she urges Guy to leave for his own safety. He betrays her confidence, though, by filing a major story for which she is the obvious source.