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Robert DeNiro, Sharon Stone and Joe Pesci star in director Martin Scorsese's riveting look at how blind ambition, white-hot passion and 24-karat greed toppled an empire. Las Vegas 1973 is the setting for this fact-based story about the Mob's multi-million dollar casino operation - where fortunes and lives were made and lost with a roll of the dice.
Director Martin Scorsese reunites with members of his GoodFellas gang (writer Nicholas Pileggi; actors Robert De Niro, Joe Pesci, and Frank Vincent) for a three-hour epic about the rise and fall of mobster Sam "Ace" Rothstein (De Niro), a character based on real-life gangster Frank "Lefty" Rosenthal. (It's modeled after on Wiseguy and GoodFellas and Pileggi's true crime book Casino: Love and Honor in Las Vegas.) Through Rothstein, the picture tells the story of how the Mafia seized, and finally lost control of, Las Vegas gambling. The first hour plays like a fascinating documentary, intricately detailing the inner workings of Vegas casinos. Sharon Stone is the stand out among the actors; she nabbed an Oscar nomination for her role as the voracious Ginger, the glitzy call girl who becomes Rothstein's wife. The film is not as fast paced or gripping as Scorsese's earlier gangster pictures (Mean Streets and GoodFellas), but it's still absorbing. And, hey--it's Scorsese! --Jim EmersonSee all Editorial Reviews
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The extended review continues... Casino is not as critically acclaimed or part of the movie goer's conscious like Goodfellas (which is an excellent film) but it should be. It's about gangsters and Las Vegas before the big corporations sanitized Vegas and turned it into an adult version of Disney World.
It's "based on a true story", but only loosely. But does it matter? A great story told only the way Scorsese can tell it is entertainment at its best whether it's tightly based on a true story, loosely based on a true story, or is an original fictional screenplay.
My only warning is the movie had, at the time, the record number of f-bombs ever in a movie at over 420. I'm personally not offended by it but I watched it with my older Chinese in-laws, who were a little disturbed by the language. I just told them that's the way gangsters talk and the movie is just keepin' it real. Just know this tidbit when choosing your fellow viewers.
But Goodfellas was the story of small time hoods, neighborhood crooks, who had connections to the actual Mob but who were minor players at best. Casino is the epic story of how the Mob infiltrated Vegas, basically ran it through the Teamsters Union, and were gradually brought down by the carelessness and violence of the very people they sent to actually run the operation. The meticulous research and preparation for which Scorsese is known is here in abundance. As usual the story was based very closely on true events and characters with names barely changed. (De Niro's Ace Rothstein was based on Lefty Rosenthal; Pesci's Nicky Santoro was based on Tony Spiletro). The actual mobsters portrayed in the film including Mr. Rosenthal, and associates who survived it all were consultants on the film and often on the set. In interiors of the "Tangiers" casino were shot in the Riviera late at night with actual customers in the distance for authenticity.
The acting is of the highest order and Scorsese is at his very best here. It is a long film at three hours, but it's meant to be an epic and it's never boring. There is no one here to really root for, they're all terribly flawed characters, but that's who they were. This is not a film with a hero. It's almost a type of documentary. The ending is as grim as it gets. That's what happens when you screw up.
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A little wordy could get to the point sometimes
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