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T500FC, 471st: Casino (Martin Scorsese, 1995)

March.2.2011

Casino is an extremely addictive film that I failed to watch when I was still in my teens. Martin Scorsese, the director, delivered this dark, grim, and ugly film into something that is completely comprehensible to the common viewer, even probably to those people who hate violence and gangsters in general; meaning people who hated The Godfather trilogy. I’d also like to add, on why this film was snubbed in the Oscars, thank God Sharon Stone was nominated that year, and Susan Sarandon in Dead Man Walking winning that year, so no biggie.

This film is a story based on the life of Frank Rosenthal, played by Robert De Niro, who ran casinos back in the seventies. And on the side, we have Joe Pesci playing the part of Nicky Santoro, a real life crook, Anthony Spilotro. With the alternating narratives on some scenes provided by Robert and Joe, it tells us the story on their lives in the world of casinos. It tells us the ins and outs of the casino, as greatly shown in a ‘back in the day approach’ including of course on how money is passed through to the real casino bosses, on how the casino never loses, and basically, on how it is a lucrative million dollar industry that people would really die just to get the right position in the casino. Though the real story really follows the three actors, Robert, Joe, and Sharon Stone, who played the part of the Casino hustler slash De Niro’s wife.

I only found Casino in one of the list that I am obsessing in. it felt like it was one of the gems of the nineties that was almost forgotten because it was the time when we followed a group of missing people in The Blair Witch Project, when we meet someone as crazy as Dr. Hannibal Lectre in Silence of the Lambs, and it is also the time when we have a sensitive HIV film, Philadelphia. There were a few gangster related films in the likes of the Untouchables and Goodfellas, that this one was probably taken out of that kind of list since there is no crazy gun-shooting involved. We only have a few eye-candy angry scenes such as the killed by a pen scene and the demise of Pesci’s character in the movie.

One thing I like about Scorsese is his ability to tell a story despite the seemingly spaghetti type run of the story. He was able to do a cut-to-cut scene phasing with the climax running from the beginning and obviously the end of the film. I also admire the different shots made in Nevada, who would’ve thought that something as hot as the desert and the brightness as the casinos looked like it was delightful to one’s eyes. Even the setting in the cornfields is quite exhilarating, as you’d really feel the human battery to the core of your bone.

One may wonder if this film is worth watching. Despite this film having one of the most numbers of said ‘fuck’, one can still find the classy disposition, as greatly portrayed by Robert and Sharon. I am definitely glad I was able to catch this film and surely loved the information overload provided with the ins and outs of the casino.

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