Martin Scorsese’s 1995 film, Casino 1995, is a cinematic masterpiece that chronicles the rise and fall of the Las Vegas casino empire during the 1970s and 1980s. The film stars Robert De Niro as Sam “Ace” Rothstein, a sports handicapper hired by the mafia to run the Tangiers Casino in Las Vegas. Sharon Stone and Joe Pesci also deliver stunning performances as Ginger McKenna, Rothstein’s love interest, and Nicky Santoro, a ruthless enforcer for the mafia.
The film is based on the non-fiction book Casino: Love and Honor in Las Vegas by Nicholas Pileggi, who co-wrote the screenplay with Scorsese. It is a character-driven crime drama that explores themes of power, corruption, and the destructive consequences of greed.
The film’s cinematography, editing, and sound design are all masterful, with Scorsese and his team creating a gritty, stylish, and immersive portrayal of the Las Vegas underworld. The film’s use of voice-over narration, jump cuts, and a non-linear narrative structure add to its unique and engaging style.
At the heart of the film is De Niro’s performance as Rothstein. He brings a quiet intensity and controlled demeanor to the role, portraying a man who is constantly calculating and strategizing, but whose obsession with control ultimately leads to his downfall. Stone’s performance as Ginger is also noteworthy, as she embodies a character who is both alluring and destructive, and who ultimately becomes a victim of her own vices.
Pesci’s portrayal of Santoro is perhaps the most intense and disturbing performance of the film. He is a violent and unpredictable character who is willing to do whatever it takes to maintain his power and control, even if it means betraying those closest to him.
Overall, Casino is a tour-de-force of filmmaking and storytelling, and a true testament to the power of cinema to explore complex and difficult themes. Its characters are flawed, fascinating, and ultimately tragic, and its portrayal of the Las Vegas casino world is both compelling and unsettling. It is a film that continues to captivate audiences and inspire filmmakers to this day.