LUCK HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH THE GAMES THEY PLAY.
“Ace” Rothstein (Robert De Niro) tries to run his Las Vegas casino as effectively as possible, but his doomed marriage to a hustler (Sharon Stone) and his friendship with a Chicago mobster (Joe Pesci) threaten to end everything. Director Martin Scorsese and writer Nicholas Pileggi reunited after GoodFellas (1990) for another mob-related story, this time a portrayal of Vegas before the Mafia lost financial control of the casinos. The film is evidence of Scorsese’s amazing talent; who else could make this perhaps overly familiar, three-hour drama work so well? Technically dazzling, and the three leads are pure dynamite; the depiction of a disintegrating marriage is fascinating.
1995-U.S. 182 min. Color. Widescreen. Produced by Barbara De Fina. Directed by Martin Scorsese. Screenplay: Nicholas Pileggi, Martin Scorsese. Novel: Nicholas Pileggi. Cinematography: Robert Richardson. Editing: Thelma Schoonmaker. Cast: Robert De Niro (Sam “Ace” Rothstein), Sharon Stone (Ginger McKenna), Joe Pesci (Nicky Santoro), James Woods, Don Rickles, Alan King… Kevin Pollak.
Trivia: Melanie Griffith was allegedly considered for the part of Ginger.
Golden Globe: Best Actress (Stone).
Quote: “A lot of holes in the desert, and a lot of problems are buried in those holes. But you gotta do it right. I mean you gotta have the hole dug before you show up with a package in the trunk. Otherwise, you’re talking about a half-hour to forty-five minutes worth of digging. And who knows who’s gonna come along in that time? Pretty soon, you gotta dig a few more holes. You could be there all fuckin’ night.” (Pesci)
Last word: “Some of my films are known for the depiction of violence. I don’t have anything to prove with that any more. I don’t feel the poetry of violence the way Peckinpah used to. You take ‘Casino’. There’s the scene where Joe Pesci’s character and his younger brother are killed by their closest friends with baseball bats in a cornfield. That way of life that we depicted, that’s where it really ends – your closest friend smashing you in the head with a baseball bat. Not even a gun. Not cutting your throat. You’re going to get hit – many times – and you’re still going to be breathing when they put the dirt on you. If you want to live in that lifestyle, that’s where you’re going to go.” (Scorsese, The Guardian)