Monday 13 July 2009

Casino [1995]

While speaking of Martin Scorsese’s oeuvre, Casino is often brushed aside with the usual “good, but not great” logic; the reason for that, of course, is attributed to its structural and thematic similarities with his earlier Goodfellas. I personally find that a flimsy argument. A spectacular tour de force from start to finish, Casino is a sprawling, visceral, glamorous and visually arresting epic gangster drama, bolstered by its hyperkinetic narrative and a terrific soundtrack that managed to provide a remarkable zeitgeist of the times. A ravishing behind-the-scenes look at the mob-controlled circus called Las Vegas, the story has been presented through its three principal protagonists – Sam “Ace” Rothstein (the virtuoso Robert De Niro in his last collaboration with Scorsese till date), a shrewd bookie who’s given charge of a huge Vegas casino; Nicky Santoro (the mercurial Joe Pesci in a slightly toned down version of his bravura turn in Goodfellas), his childhood pal and a volatile, psychopathic mobster who meets with a truly poetic justice; and Ginger (arguably Sharon Stone’s finest performance), a stunning beaut and a self-destructive hustler. Though around 3 hours long, the incredible performances, the raw energy of Scorsese’s storytelling, voiceovers with shifting perspectives, and darkly humorous dialogues punctuated by moments of thumping violence, have made this a compelling and explosive though heavily underrated crime saga.

Director: Martin Scorsese
Genre: Crime Drama/Gangster Drama/Film a Clef
Language: English
Country: US

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