The people who play casino games are a pretty diverse bunch. There are the regulars who strut around with confidence, expecting to win big, and then there are those trying to claw back what they lost on their last visit. Regardless of their intentions or personal preference, most of them share one thing – they have an incredible time. With music blaring, coins clinking, and the smell of pure excitement permeating the air, there’s no doubt that it is impossible not to get caught up in the moment.
Unlike other gambling movies that only show the glitz, glamor, and opulence of Vegas, Casino digs deep into the history of this desert city. It lays bare the mafia’s intricate web of influence in Vegas, reaching from politicians to Teamsters unions to Chicago mob members and beyond. It is a fascinating study into how casinos rose to prominence in the United States, and how the machinations of organized crime can taint a place that is supposed to be about luck and chance.
Despite being almost three hours long, Casino never lags or runs out of steam. This is largely due to the masterful direction of Martin Scorsese and the excellent acting of Robert De Niro, Sharon Stone, and Joe Pesci. De Niro’s portrayal of mobster Santoro is an especially memorable performance. His dynamic with the more refined Sam Rothstein makes for a captivating story throughout.