Sunday, February 15, 2015


Movie Name: Casino
Year of Release: 1995
Director: Martin Scorsese
Stars:Robert De Niro, Sharon Stone, Joe Pesci, James Woods, Don Rickles, Alan King, Kevin Pollak, L.Q. Jones, Dick Smothers, Frank Vincent
Score out of ten (whole numbers only): 8

Following the critical success of "The Age of Innocence", Martin Scorsese focused his attention on another story dealing with organized crime. "Casino" is adapted from the book by Nicholas Pileggi, and follows the story of Ace Rothstein, who alongside Nicky Santoro, both of whom have ties with organized crime in NY, move to Las Vegas in order to control the gambling industry associated with the casinos in that area. Ace functions as the businessman and brains of the operation, while Nicky is the muscle, robbing and shaking the locals (and potential rivals). Things however start changing dramatically when Ace gets involved with Ginger, a local scamming artist, and Nicky gets more addicted to drugs.
"Casino" probes deep into the deep tragic life of Ace Rothstein, the center and narrator of the story. His "American Dream" lifestyle facade slowly fades away, as we see how organized crime destroys everything it touches - Ace as the tragic and deeply flawed central character is the epitome of Scorsese's characters - a man trying to stay afloat, carrying a heavy burden of experiences, and with a family life that has disintegrated into accusations and mutual loathing. At the core of the film is a trio of riveting performances, from Robert De Niro, Sharon Stone and Joe Pesci, all of whom bring to life these characters, with energy and weariness. The cinematography from Robert Richardson is simply stunning, as is the title sequence from Saul Bass. The film is an amalgamation of craft and a universe that is familiar to Scorsese, from the dynamics of dysfunctional family life to the intricacies of organized crime. A great film always worth revisiting.