This 1992 spy film misfires. The problem is the implausibility of the characters and the plot. For example, American lawyer and O.S.S. agent Ed Leland (Michael Douglas) snoops in Germany, but can't speak German. To get by, he wears a neck bandage indicating a war wound left him unable to speak. Why did the O.S.S. assign a linguistic dummkopf to spy in Germany? Not to worry, though. Blonde beauty Linda Voss (Melanie Griffith) comes to Leland's rescue when she applies for a job at his law firm. Voss speaks German, has Jewish relatives in Berlin, and hankers for a spy mission to save the world and rescue her relatives. Leland hires her to infiltrate Nazi households (first, as a strudel-making cook and later as a nanny) to ferret out information about a flying bomb. Her first contact in Germany is Konrad Friedrichs (John Gielgud), alias Sunflower. Age 88 at the time of the filming, Gielgud resembles the last prune in the box, yet here he is playing a spy named Sunflower. On her first daring mission, Voss shops at a fish market to retrieve a message from the mouth of a codfish while Nazis are lurking about. Her contact, the fishmonger, points her to a mountain of codfish ogled by other shoppers. A customer just happens to select the right codfish, and a tug-of-war ensues between Voss and the customer. Why didn't the fishmonger just whisper the message to Voss? Because, in spy films, messages have to be retrieved under difficult circumstances. Shining Through earned 1993 Golden Raspberry Awards in the following categories: worst film, worst actress, worst director, and worst screenplay.
by Mike Cummings review