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Film / Shining Through

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Shining Through is an 1992 American drama film written and directed by David Seltzer and starring Michael Douglas, Melanie Griffith, Liam Neeson and Joely Richardson.

In 1940, Linda Voss (Griffith) is hired as a translator for stiff attorney Ed Leland (Douglas). They eventually become lovers, but she soon becomes suspicious of his strange behavior and mysterious whereabouts. Her suspicions that he is actually a spy are proven correct when Ed emerges as a colonel in the OSS. After the attack on Pearl Harbor, when America joins the war with the Allies, Ed and his colleagues find themselves needing to replace a murdered agent in Berlin on very short notice, and despite knowing little about intelligence work, Linda volunteers, with her mission being to bring back data on a flying bomb developed by the Germans, with the help of contact Margrete von Eberstein (Richardson), which Linda thinks will be able to do by looking into officer Franz-Otto Dietrich (Neeson).

This film features examples of:

  • Artistic License – Military: A group of soldiers salute Ed indoors at a social gathering, which one is not supposed to do. Not to mention that they do the all-too-common mistake in films of saluting with their heads uncovered.
  • Framing Device: The bulk of the film is told in flashback, as an aged Linda is interviewed by a BBC documentary team.
  • Jumped at the Call: Linda is all too eager to jump into becoming an agent.
  • Lethal Chef: Linda initially assumes the role of a cook in the household of a climbing Nazi officer, but the dinner she prepares turns out to be a disaster, and the Nazi officer angrily fires her. In her defense, she arrived too late to properly prepare the food.
  • Made of Iron: Margrete shoots Linda twice in the chest, but Linda is able to survive and even kill her attacker. Likewise, Ed is shot twice by a German sniper while carrying an injured Linda, but he survives and manages to gets himself and Linda across the border before collapsing.
  • The Mole: Margrete, Linda's contact, turns out to have been a double agent, who in fact was the one who betrayed the agent Linda replaced.
  • Taught by Television: Linda knows (or thinks she knows) about spying from watching spy movies. While she does correctly guess that Ed is a secret agent, her record is quite hit-and-miss (with more misses than hits).