CASINO (1995)

Directed by: Martin Scorsese
Written By: Nicholas Pileggi & Martin Scorsese
Based on the Book “Casino” By: Nicholas Pileggi
Cinematography: Robert Richardson 
Editor: Thelma Schoonmaker 

Cast: Robert DeNiro, Joe Pesci, Sharon Stone, James Woods, Frank Vincent, Don Rickles, Alan King, Kevin Pollak, Pasquale Cajano, Richard Riehle, L.Q. Jones, John Bloom, Dick Smothers, Vinny Vella, Melissa Prophet, Bill Allison, Steve Allen, Jayne Meadows, Frankie Avalon, Jerry Vale, 

A tale of greed, deception, money, power, and murder occur between two best friends: a mafia enforcer and a casino executive compete against each other over a gambling empire, and over a fast-living and fast-loving socialite.


This movie is a grand opera. Though its stage seems grand, you can tell at heart it has a central story that is a drama. That concerns a core small group but their actions affect way too many for it to barely be noticed. It charts everyone’s downfall. As really the film is a tragedy.

It feels like it might pack too much into the story and take as it tries to be partially a history lesson. As well as tell a story to these particular characters and how their Affairs and behavior brought down or exposed the mafia in Las Vegas. 

Now while this film is epic and told In Quite the same way what makes it so strong and magical is how much in the small details everything feels right and paid close attention to. It might not be as satisfying a gangster film as his previous film GOODFELLAS, but this is more a tale of greed and corruption that happens to have gangsters in it.

Everything presented here is over the top, even the cast. Which is peppered with Las Vegas entertainers in various roles. As well as big names sprinkled throughout. 

The film stays true to the true story being told but also has many subplots that might seem like distractions at first but eventually come together to show that these minute seeming trivialities are what makes everything come together to a clash eventually. 

Sharon Stone has never been better than Playing ginger. The hustler wife to Robert DeNiro’s casino runner. At first idealistic beauty and then is slowly addicted to alcohol and drugs who proves to be a bad bet for him. Who has always been a winner and picked them and as soon as he gets involved with her. Slowly things begin to crumble due to excess and ego.

It has been a little too familiar for Joe Pesci playing a likable killer sociopath again who is as funny as he is scary. Even though a different temperament and Robert DeNiro is quieter and less violent a character but more know it. Whose ego is his worst problem.

While this film Shows how Las Vegas and the mob rules Las Vegas with an iron fist. So that the house always won. It also shows how things have changed over time and how drugs and morals began to affect everything. Went so far as to include an ending where at the time they show how my body Vegas has changed and that the time they ruled was the end of an era. Even if corrupt how much fun it was or could be.

This film is certainly a grand vision painted with a paintbrush of all colors. As cinematographer Robert Richardson seems to go all out with lenses, filters, scopes to emphasize how crazy and exact things were at the time. At that point usually worked for director Oliver Stone. This was his first collaboration with Martin Scorsese and it seems a match made it. Heaven especially with this tale.

Though for as big as the film is it couldn’t be told any other way. Even when it tries to stay on certain stories and characters it can’t help but give the audience the whole picture so that they can understand exactly what all went into actions and decisions. Even throughout the film the narration changes to certain characters, even minor ones to help explain situations.

The soundtrack almost runs over each other in the changing scenes, moods, and tones. Though always seem to be playing the right song and cue 

While not exactly a masterpiece this is a big picture. That is hard to describe but it has all the elements that are needed for a soap opera only here treated more seriously. Filled with flawed and shady characters where the only close to innocent ones are just less shady than others.

The film tries to show that not all that glitters is gold and even if you try and gold plate it the tarnish is never quite fixed.

GRADE: B

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