Directed By: Martin Scorsese
Written By: Nicholas Pileggi
Naturally, I love mafia movies. This isn’t the greatest mafia movie, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t great. It’s a movie made by people made to make mafia movies and that’s what makes it great. This movie might remind people too much of Goodfellas but I can’t really see how that is a bad thing. Goodfellas was a great movie and I for one really enjoy any opportunity to see more of Robert De Niro and Joe Pesci together, especially with Scorsese at the helm. Goodfellas and Casino were both based on books written by Nicholas Pileggi, who also served as screenwriter for both films. I have not read either of the two books but have researched Goodfellas to some degree and it’s not that far off as far as accuracy goes but there is plenty of insight available into that one. Henry Hill is still very much in the public eye but as a celebrity instead of a criminal. A celebrity for being a criminal. Casino is loosely based on real events and people in Las Vegas but all the names were changed, including the name of the main hotel.
De Niro may have been the headliner in this film but it was Joe Pesci who stole the show. I mean Pesci was scary as Tommy DeVito in Goodfellas but he turned up the heat in Casino. He was so violent and sadistic, and he is so good with the F word. I am a really big fan of Joe Pesci, he showed remarkable range throughout his career. Pesci’s performance was great but that doesn’t belittle De Niro’s performance. This was De Niro’s eighth collaboration with Scorsese, they knew how to get it done at this point. De Niro is an incredibly versatile actor and he can do anything but it is in this genre that he is really in his element. At the end of the day he will always be the Godfather and he belongs in mafia movies. In the same notion Scorsese belongs behind the camera of mafia movies. Scorsese is a fantastic director and I have always admired his films. Scorsese has never been shy about violence and gore throughout his career and he isn’t with this film either. This is a graphic movie, it can be suddenly violent but that is part of the thrill that comes with a movie like this. It’s also heavy on the language, the F bomb is dropped somewhere far past the 400 times mark, mostly by Pesci.
This movie had a very rich cast beyond Pesci and De Niro though. Sharon Stone is great in the female lead. You could really start to see her age in this movie but she still looked beautiful. Sharon Stone is a great actress and she has had a long successful career. James Woods, Kevin Pollack, and Frank Vincent also play their parts respectively too. I imagine it’s easy for great actors to shine when they are working with such an interesting story. The history of Las Vegas is as dark as this movie would lead you to believe and there is a fascinating story there to study.
This is a long movie at just under three hours but still well worth your time. The performances are great and the story is interesting. Watching it now has actually inspired me to read the books by Nicholas Pileggi, so hopefully by the time we get to Goodfellas I can report the historical accuracy of the film. In the meantime enjoy this film, it’s a great movie.
I thoroughly enjoy this film. It is an intriguing tale and set in a time and place that most of us don’t really know that much about. Sure, some have visited Las Vegas, but have you ever ran a casino? Anyway, the voice-overs in this film are Robert DeNiro and Joe Pesci. The combination of the two of them are great. It puts a dual perspective over the film. The story is really intricate and interesting, I really recommend it to anyone who hasn’t seen it. I know they often play it on network tv, but please don’t watch it there. Movies like this should never be played on network television. You need the extras like cussing to really drive this one home.
NEXT MOVIE: Chicago (2002)