Director: Martin Scorsese
Yet another great movie from Scorsese, based on another book from Nicholas Pileggi, the author of “Goodfellas”. Once again, the film is full of interesting stories, mostly about the way casinos work, but also about crime, love, murder, adultery and revenge Mafia-style. Ace Rothstein used to be a simple bookie. One hell of a bookie, but nothing more. His talent at his job made the Mob think that he would be perfect to run some casinos in Vegas. Rothstein took the job and everything worked out perfect. But Rothstein made a few mistakes. First, he married a girl who didn’t love him. Second, he was a good friend of Nicky Santoro, a mean trouble maker who wanted to make Vegas his own.
I love this movie. It’s an epic tale, superbly told. The storytelling is rich, inventive and gripping. The way the Mob skimmed the casinos is fascinating and Scorsese’s direction is brilliant every step of the way. He tells this story with great energy and perfect pacing. The film is full of cool details, and everything seems just right, from the always dynamic visuals to the wall-to-wall voice-over and pop music cues. the I love especially the gambling and hustling sequences and all the bloody beatings, but there are also quieter character moments where it’s the actors who impress. Robert De Niro is awesome as Rothstein. – combine his huge talent with Scorsese’s, and you’re sure to get a great film. Joe Pesci plays Santoro, a character similar to the ones he played in “Raging Bull” and “Goodfellas”. Once again, he’s hilarious as this mean little bastard with lots of money and women and the shortest fuse in the world. Sharon Stone is surprisingly good as Ginger, Ace’s wife (though giving her the Golden Globe might have been pushing it).
Altogether, this is one memorable movie. For some, it will suffer the comparison with “Goodfellas” but, while it’s not quite as flawless as that earlier picture, Scorsese is still at the top of his game and way ahead of most of his peers. The one hole I find in “Casino” is that after watching the picture all these times, I still don’t get how Ace can trust Ginger and why she keeps running back to the lowlife pimp played by James Woods. But this is less a weakness than a mystery, and it might actually make the movie all the more intriguing.