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1995 171 mins

Director Martin Scorsese
Starring - Robert De Niro - Sam "Ace" Rothstein
Sharon Stone - Ginger McKenna-Rothstein
Joe Pesci - Nicky Santoro
Don Rickles - Billy Sherbert
James Woods - Lester Diamond
Frank Vincent - Frank Marino

I read sometime ago that Casino is regarded by some people as one of Scorsese and De Niro's weakest films of the nineties and because I haven't seen it for a year or two this got me thinking that maybe I had overestimated it the first couple of times I watched and so I was looking to hopefully prove this wrong. I think the reason that some people don't rate this film as highly as they should is because it is similar in some respects (ie. Joe Pesci) to Goodfellas which it could never hope to better. The character of Nicky Santoro that Pesci plays in Casino is pretty much the same as Tommy De Vito in Goodfellas, the difference being that although with Tommy you kind of like him despite his tendencies toward violence, you never feel this way about Nicky Santoro.

Casino shows us the darker side of Las Vegas life and the coruption that lies behind the money. The story is told mainly from the point of view of Ace and Nicky who narrate a large part of what happened with the action from the present (the present being the 70's and 80's when the film is set) played as they tell us their version of events. It revolves around the three main charcters of Sam Rothstein, Ginger and Nicky and shows how what should have been a perfect life for them and those involved with them gradually falls apart due to Rothstein's involvement with the mob and in particular Nicky Santoro and his failing marriage to Ginger. It is an intriguing story to watch and it doesn't drag for a single moment and so the three hours that the film lasts are more than justified. The movie is perfectly cast and the acting is first class from everyone concerned especially from Sharon Stone who undoubtably gives the best performance of her career.

But for me, as well as the great story and acting, it is the little things that make this film particularly enjoyable to watch ie. the Blueberry muffin incident, the feds landing on the golfcourse, De Niro when he comes out from behind his desk to get ready to see Pat Webb (turquoise shoes rule!), the stupid looking card dealer that gets abused by Nick etc etc. there are more but I think I'll leave it at that.

Casino is not Scorsese and De Niro's best collaboration but it still shows that when they get together you are guaranteed to be given one heck of a movie. A fantastic film.


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