D.J. Haza presents the next entry in his series of films to watch before you die…
Directed by Martin Scorsese.
Starring Robert De Niro, Joe Pesci, Sharon Stone, Don Rickles, Frank Vincent, James Woods and Kevin Pollack.
Martin Scorsese’s gangster story Casino is based upon real-life crimes and lives of several mob figures operating in Las Vegas during it’s golden age. The story follows Ace (De Niro), a Jewish-American gambling handicapper who is called into Las Vegas to over see the running of the mobs casino. Ace is aided in his dealings by Nicky (Pesci), a mean and ruthless mob enforcer who’s job it is to make sure money is skimmed off the top in Vegas and that the local gangsters are kept in line. Ginger (Stone) is Ace’s troublesome wife who causes him nothing but grief, but he cant let go of.
As life in Vegas gets more and more complicated Ace finds himself out of favour with the local government people who run the town, but blames Nicky’s violent behaviour and extreme ways of dealing with everything for his own trouble. Ginger continually leaves Ace, but returns when her money runs dry and falls straight into Ace’s arms. When Ace finally has enough of Ginger she turns to Nicky and they continue on with their own affair.
Nicky eventually finds himself murdered by his own gang and Ace is run out of town as the old casinos are purchased, demolished and rebuilt by big corporations. With the mob out of favour in Vegas Sam finds himself back in San Diego running gambling handicaps.
Casino is a classic Scorsese film oozing with style and class. Sharon Stone was nominated for an Oscar and won a Golden Globe for her turn as the drug addled wife of Ace. The star of the film undoubtedly though in my eyes is Joe Pesci who’s short temper and constant violence make his character larger than life despite being shorter than most. A classic case of short man’s syndrome at it’s very worst.
Casino is a film you must see before you die because it is based upon real life events in a time when Las Vegas was the playing fields of the mob. Ace is based on real life character Frank Rosenthal, who ran the Stardust, Fremont and Hacienda casinos in Las Vegas through the 1970s and 1980s for the Chicago mob. Joe Pesci’s character Nicky Santoro was based on mob enforcer Anthony Spilotro. Casino tells the story of a time when Vegas wasn’t big them parked-style hotels and gimmicks, but was dark and smoky rooms filled with the rich and the crooked.
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