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Movie Review

Shining Through

Reviewed by: Brett Willis

Very Offensive
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Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
War Drama/Romance
2 hr. 13 min.
Year of Release:
USA Release:
Cover Graphic from “Shining Through”
Featuring: Michael Douglas, Melanie Griffith, Liam Neeson, Joely Richardson
Director: David Seltzer
Producer: _____
Distributor: _____

This fictional WWII spy story has good performances all around and authentic costumes and sets; yet it doesn’t have an emotional, realistic “feel” as the best modern films do. It seems more like an elaborate stage play or a film produced in the ’40s. Maybe that’s because it’s presented as the later-life reminisces of lead character Linda Voss (Melanie Griffith), who supposedly got some of her “spy training” from watching contemporary (that is, ’40s) films.

Voss, an American who is German-born and half-Jewish, lands a job as secretary to Ed Leland (Michael Douglas), who is an international lawyer and (as Voss correctly guesses) a spy. She slowly works her way into Leland’s confidence and finally (after the U.S. enters the war) volunteers for spy work herself. She’s assigned to pose as a domestic in a German officer’s house and to attempt to microfilm the plans for a new secret weapon and the location of its factory. As in most spy stories, nothing goes as planned.

Considering the rating, there’s very little profane language. There’s a gratuitous sex scene between Voss and Leland with about half a minute of partial nudity. Several on-screen killings and some spy-related treachery. There are some fairly big holes in the plot. Linda’s search for her Jewish relatives who are hidden in Berlin is the element that conveys the deepest on-screen emotion; however, the romantic bond between Voss and Leland is presented as strong enough for them to risk their lives for each other as well as for their country. This film is average for its type, but is interesting for its unique method of presentation.

Viewer Comments
When I saw this movie we had no idea that it was rated R. We watched it on FX Movies. I loved it so much. It showed a wonderful portrayal of being a spy during WWII. Its a wonderful story and deserves to be watched. Although it can’t have the title of family movie, I think teenagers and parents can enjoy watching it together. My Ratings: [3/4]
—Renee W.