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Review #105: Casino

Associate of the Mob, Sam Rothstien is a professional gambler and sports handicapper who is by far and away the best in the business at making or breaking gambling odds in the Bookies.
When the Mob hire him to take care of one of their Casinos in Vegas, he reluctantly but enthusiastically takes the job, unaware that it will eventually be the biggest mistake he'll ever make and will change not just his life, but the lives of those around him too.

Another marvel in film making from the Scorsese-De Niro duo gives the audience a Goodfellas-esk experience that hits all the right notes, even though most of them are downbeat and occasionally uncomfortable ones.

Casino is based on the true story of Frank "Lefty" Rosenthal who was hired as Foreman to three Mob owned Casinos in Vegas back in the 1970s and 80s and Scorsese's masterpiece, though with a few of the facts changed, gives the viewer a huge and entertaining bite of the lifestyle witnessed by the real life gamblers, hustlers and Mob Bosses from history.

The entire screenplay, though at times wonderfully uncomfortable with the series' of events, is fantastically written and pieced together.

Though a few facts were changed for the film, it still has the heavy hitting impact of history that are seen in Scorsese's other Mob films.
The whole feeling of historical drama mixed with such fantastically played characters is captured with such realism throughout, that it's very hard to take your eyes off the screen.

De Niro is absolutely top drawer. He goes from a confident gambler to confident Boss, to a scared and panicked marked man with the world on his shoulders within the blink of an eye and his character, obviously being based on a real person, is exceptionally realistic.
Sharon Stone as De Niro's love interest/wife is also at the top of her game. The transformation she undergoes through the movie is by far the best acting I have ever seen from her.

Joe Pesci really steals the show though as De Niro's childhood friend. Based on Tony "The Ant" Spilotro, Pesci throws himself into the role so deeply, he makes the biggest impression outside of his role in Goodfellas. His transformation over the movie's running time is another masterclass in acting as well.

What lets the film down? Actually not a lot, some people may find it less of a nostalgic look at the Gangster Past than Goodfellas is, and many will find it much more hard hitting with the overall drama, violence and downbeat acting involved.

Casino is often compared, unfavourably I might add, to Goodfellas, but throw that thought aside because Casino isn't actually trying to be Goodfellas.
It has a similar truth based story to it, a guy who's good at what he does and gets put into a position of relative power by the Mob which then dangerously falls down around him...

... but it really couldn't be more removed from Scorsese's earlier film.
Casino is top drawer stuff in its own right.

All in all, one of the finest. Give it a go, if you like a night in with a gangster/Mob genre movie, it'll make your evening, guaranteed.
My rating 100%