Casinos have long remained amongst the most popular locations for box office hits due to their luxurious internal and external detail, but more importantly for its enthralling drama, suspense and excitement that is generated through the wide range of games they offer.
From playing at the poker table to watching a roulette wheel spin, the concept of gambling and the ability for an outcome to be dramatically changed by a single card or spin makes for a perfect narrative within any action movie to illustrate the risk and reward that comes with playing any slot, table or card game.
Numerous films have attempted to include the gambling aspect with limited success, with Runner Runner and Wild Card the latest instalments in the casino genre that have come nowhere near dethroning the 1995 classic Casino as the number one casino-based hit. A wonderful depiction of the Las Vegas lifestyle, intertwined with the gripping tale of two mobsters brother who crave money and supreme power, creates an enthralling Oscar-nominated film that has lost none of its quality twenty years on.
Although the casino industry has moved on to the extent that people can play casino games on Slotocash or any other number of online casinos anywhere and anytime they like, Casino is a perfect reminder of how land-based casinos have lost none of its idyllic charm and appeal for gaming enthusiasts who enjoy the experience of walking into a luxurious building to play their favourite games.
Directed by Martin Scorsese, the 1995 classic Casino reflects the glamorous lifestyle that comes with the day-to-day running and playing in a land-based casino, but also delves into the brutal underworld that exists under the ownership of mobsters who wish to make their name in Las Vegas.
It tells the story through the eyes of Ace Rothstein (Robert De Niro) and Nicky Santoro (Joe Pesci), two friends who are perfect foils for each other as they try to make their mark in America by working and living in a paradoxical world that can knock you down as quickly as it can make you. Ace becomes the smooth operator of the Tangiers casino which he turns into one of the most successful on the Las Vegas strip, while his friend Nicky works as the tough strongman to rob and deal with locals who overstep the mark.
Their chalk and cheese partnership appears to be paying rich dividends, until their weaknesses come to the fore; Ace falls in love with hustler Ginger McKenna (Sharon Stone), while Nicky’s life spirals out of control and into a deep world of drugs and violence. A gambling empire collapses as both men lose control of their lives as the level of deception, greed and murder becomes too much to handle, and they lose sight of what they came to Las Vegas to achieve.
A film with a cast top-heavy with famous stars was always likely to turn Casino into a box office hit, but the manner in which Scorsese manages to capture the level of mob involvement in casinos during the 1970s and 1980s is what makes it a must-watch for any film fanatic. De Niro, Pesci and Stone all play starring roles through their ability to bring their character to life and show the story through their eyes and thoughts as their life changes dramatically in front of their eyes. The commentary provides a nice change to usual films that are predominately focused on interaction between each character, without really delving into their thought processes and how their life has been affected by the highs and lows of being involved with gambling, drugs, deception and murder.