Only got to do one movie this week as we were looking after the Grandkids on Saturday night. We return to Scorsese, Pesci and DeNiro, with added lady~interest in Sharon Stone. Casino (1995) as with Goodfellas 5 years prior, it was written by Scorsese in collaboration with Nicholas Pileggi, based on one of Pileggi’s non-fiction books “Casino:Love and honor in Las Vegas.
Having recently seen The Irishman and Goodfellas, the formula for this movie isn’t really any different from the other two, they’re all bad mob guys, but some are badder than others, and lets face it, Joe Pesci is badder than them all. This one is set in a Mob run casino, affiliated with the Teamsters, and DeNiro playing Sam ‘Ace’ Rothstein – an expert gambler, is sent in to take over the running of it, which he does and then doubles the profits, allowing the mafia to skim even more money from it than they have been. The Mob bosses are so happy they send Pesci, playing Nicki Santoro and his brother Dominic and Frank Marino to go to Vegas and protect Rothstein and their investment. Sharon Stone turns up playing Ginger McKenna a hustler, dancer and former prostitute who is in a relationship with a con-man called Lester Diamond played by the seedy looking James Woods.
Sam falls in love with Ginger, they get married and have a daughter even though Ginger doesn’t love him and she still keeps seeing Lester. The FBI are monitoring a grocery store where one of the underboss’s mouths off about what’s going on in the casino so they start investigating it. Nicki goes around beating up most of the population of Vegas as far as I can tell and gets banned from all the casinos. Bit by bit, everything falls apart, but no spoilers so I’ll leave it at that.
As always, Pesci and DeNiro excel in these mob roles, and DeNiro gets to wear some crazy coloured suits but gets away with it. The revelation was Sharon Stone. I’ve never really seen her and been impressed, (Basic Instinct! 🙄 ). Here she really acted her socks off, running the gamut of emotions from being a beautiful and vivacious but damaged party girl to a drug addled alcoholic harridan. An epic performance.
The reviews were not as good at the time of release as they were for Goodfellas, which is still, apparently, the No.1 mob movie of all time (dunno who decided that) and Scorsese was criticised for going down the same road. Now retrospectively the critics have said they feel it is a more accomplished and artistically mature work than Goodfellas which I totally agree with, and which is why, I assume, Scorsese did it.