Casino ★★★½

Film #53 of Project 90

”Listen to me very carefully. There are three ways of doing things around here: the right way, the wrong way, and the way that *I* do it. You understand?”

Casino is entertaining and it is masterfully made. That’s the least you can expect from a Martin Scorsese movie. Despite being three hours it never becomes boring, with the help of Thelma Schoonmaker’s well-judged editing it is able to tell its story in a pretty smooth way and with Robert Richardson’s stylish cinematography it is able to capture all the glamour of Las Vegas and gaming business, the acting is first-rate and as always Scorsese is spot on in his portrayal of gangster lifestyle. But after the movie ends you feel like something is not right, what’s the problem then?

Actually Casino feels like just another version of Goodfellas, it’s like Scorsese has fell in love with the story of James Conway and Tommy DeVito so he has decided to make another movie with them, so he moves his characters to the glittering streets of Las Vegas and adds Sharon Stone to the mix and hopes for a big change but we've heard the story of a gangster going from hero to zero before, we've seen Robert De Niro as the conservative and well-disciplined guy who is always worried about something, we've seen Joe Pesci as the hot-tempered ambitious gorilla who ruins everything. Casino is an enjoyable film of course but it doesn't have anything new. The fact that we can predict everything based on our previous knowledge of these characters damages the film. The film consists of separate exciting moments which are instantly satisfactory but when you look at it as a whole you realize that the film is not as convincing as its single moments, in this case two plus two equals three.

But let’s get back to the first paragraph and focus on the positives. Casino shows that Martin Scorsese is a director who knows the medium very well and he is able to make an entertaining movie even with an average screenplay which lacks creativity. He is like a chess player who always knows which piece to move and when to move it, that’s how skillful he is when it comes to using his camera to tell a story, he can make a cliched story look entertaining and that’s not an easy thing to do.

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