Casino

Casino

Like Goodfellas by way of De Palma, the first hour playing like an epic, borderline expressionistic montage of Las Vegas as both an idea and institution, Scorsese dousing every shot in a gorgeous combination of neon indulgence and coked-up movement. Here everything is a gamble, relationships built upon materialistic wants and needs, with untapped desire the key to almost every action and reaction. This is the story of a city told as opera, broad in both scope and emotion, three hours of cocaine-addled style which never takes the time to sit us down and moralise. There's something truly fascinating about De Niro as a character here - simultaneously someone who has taken advantage of the materialistic nature of the city of Las Vegas, but someone who slowly begins to strive for a sense of legitimacy in a place and line of work which is anything but. This struggle lends a sense of tragedy to the entire third act, an elegy in which the dominoes that have been so elegantly set up in the first two-thirds of the film come crashing down around our characters in ways that play as fated and inevitable. Entirely unsure of why this is so commonly criticised in relation to Goodfellas, when it seemed relatively clear to me that this is Scorsese expanding upon the ideas of the former, but broadening both his thematic scope and furthering his confidence in the audience to understand the fine line he walks across in regards to his romanticised eye for moral ugliness. This is sleazier, it's bigger, it's more indulgent - an untamed beast.

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