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A review of the film Casino

Casino is a film written by Nicholas Pileggi and directed by Martin Scorsese. It stars award winning actors such as Robert De Niro, Joe Pesci and Sharon Stone and it shows how there really are two sides to Las Vegas. Las Vegas, to most people is all glitz and glamour but underneath the surface there is an ugly side that involves mobsters and murder. It’s a story that sees two very different best friends go head to head in an attempt to control a gambling empire.

Sam or Ace as he’s known to, played by Robert De Niro, is approached to run the Tangiers Casino on the Las Vega Strip by the Italian mafia but does so in the proper manner by applying for a gaming license. When his best mate Nicky gets involved, things take a turn for the worst. Nicky is determined to make a name for himself as a gangster and his ruthless and reckless behaviour puts the success of the casino at risk but lives and relationships too.

The film is actually based on real life event showing how the mob built up a huge gambling empire only to then go on and lose everything. Martin Scorsese went a long way to capture a truly authentic take on the hustle and bustle of a thriving Las Vegas casino, with a lot of filming taking place at the Riviera Hotel & Casino. The film also involves one of the most memorable casino movie scenes of all time when a patron becomes so disrespectful that he puts his feet on the table. De Niro orders security to remove the player to be removed off of his feet with his head
used to open the door.

Another classic scene is at the blackjack table. Ace’s childhood friend and casino minder, Nicky, is seen at the blackjack table and he evidently does not know the correct strategy and it would have been to his financial benefit to learn how to play blackjack correctly. Ace has to get out of bed to go and deal with the volatile character who is demanding more and more credit to play. Again, this scene shows how Ace, who’s trying to build a respectable name for himself in the casino industry is constantly having to do battle with Nicky, whose volatile and unpredictable nature seems to undo all the good work.

Casino really is the all-time classic casino based film and it’s no wonder that it was a box office hit and received critical acclaim. It’s a truly gripping story as the two childhood friends, both with different agendas, try to continually outdo each other, whether they realise it or not. That, along with mobsters, violence and Ace’s seductive and scheming wife, played Sharon Stone; ensures that viewers are thrilled from start to finish, as they see they rise and fall of a casino empire and the lives ruined in the process. A film which shows gambling as a practice as well as in a metaphorical sense.


© David Nusair