Kind of a clunky war movie with lots of cliché about the spy genre, but still good fun. We have the microfilm, the secret weapons, the infiltration of Nazi inner circles and lots of trench coats and Derby's. Still if you enjoy that kind of yarn, like myself, you will no doubt enjoy this film.
Built with a larger romance angle than most World War 2 spy stories, Shining Through aims to be ambitious; to model itself after the greatest Hollywood WW2 romance, Casablanca. It is a fine film in many regards, with a bit of everything thrown in there; action, suspense, thrills, human interest, and romance. There is an incredibly zingy start with Griffith's spunky character ripping up the screen for the first half hour. It kind of loses it's momentum after that, when the romance of Douglas and Griffith ends and Douglas's character leaves her to go to war. It's too bad, because that first half hour was just plain movie magic. When the two characters are separated, the movie loses something, mainly due to Griffith's sweetheart and breathy performance. I dare any man not to fall in love with her in the first few scenes!
This is simply Griffith's movie and probably best performance ever. There are times she looks simply like a Hollywood Starlet of old when the light falls upon her a certain way. Blonde and beautiful, her sassy and intelligent character wreaks havoc on the screen. Not many actors can put Michael Douglas in their shadow during the eighties and nineties, but it is all Griffith up there. It's too bad she never got any better roles after this.
I recommend this movie for Melanie's performance alone. Still, you will not be disappointed with the stylish cinematography and settings of Nazi Germany in WW2. The Nazi Parade was fantastic ( as far as that regime allows), all sweeping banners, youths marching with their flags held high. You really get the feeling of the excitement, pomp and allegiance felt by the crowd.
In general, I highly recommend this film. It has it's weak points to be sure, falling into cliché and a kind of a made for TV feel. Still you will be carried along by the charisma of the actors: Douglas, Neeson and Griffith and come away with a smile on your face. Great stuff.
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