"Everything is there
for the taking"
In the 1970s if
you wanted to know anything about gambling and running sports books you spoke
to Sam 'Ace' Rothstein (De Niro). He was the best in the business and the Mob
knew this, as they wanted to out his talents to legitimate use by putting him
in charge of The Tangiers Casino in Las Vegas. He would make sure the place was
run right and provide the bosses with a healthy skim of the profits. All this
changed when two people came into Sam's life, the woman he would marry, Ginger
(Stone) and his oldest friend Nicky Santoro (Pesci), who had ideas for Las Vegas.
the phenomenal success of 'Goodfellas', Robert De Niro, Joe Pesci and Martin Scorsese
bring us another story of organised crime but can they recapture what they had
in their previous collaboration?
Based on true events, the
novel by Nicholas Pileggi only changed the names of the principle character but
everything else changed the same. As he did with 'Goodfellas', Pileggi creates
a realistic depiction of organised crime that pulls no punches. This is a violent
world but when you mix in the spectacle and glamour of Vegas, you have a whole
new ball game. The City of Sin provides a legitimate backdrop of the East Coast
Bosses but they could just let the casinos and hotels make money, they had to
skim cash from the take. This led to their eventual downfall and this is the story
of how that happened.
The film revolves around the two main
characters Sam 'Ace' Rothstein, played by Robert De Niro and Nicky Santoro, played
by Joe Pesci. One, who just wants to run his casino and make a life for himself
in Vegas and the other, who sees Vegas as an untapped resource of money and power.
Each character narrates their feeling and thoughts, providing narrative for the
story and showing you both sides of crime in Vegas. This serves the film brilliantly,
taking you into the character's worlds, as you wait for them to collide.
with 'Goodfellas', Scorsese brings out the best in his actors because this is
a subject matter he can really excel with. Some may argue that Robert De Niro
produces his best work under the direction of Scorsese and this adds more flame
to the fire. As Sam 'Ace' Rothstein, he creates a character that is slightly different
from his usual tough on screen persona. This is a man who fights with his intelligence,
not his fists as he makes lots of money for the casino, the mob and himself. The
violence comes from Joe Pesci's Nicky Santoro, who is the worst kind of mob enforcer,
one without any limitations. While Pesci's performance is extremely realistic
it is very similar to Tommy DeVito, the part he played in 'Goodfellas'. Stealing
the show from the two leads is the performance of Sharon Stone as Ginger. This
is a career high for the actress and shows that with the right director she can
provide a riveting performance mesmerises you throughout. It is just a shame that
she never followed this up with anything that reached these heady heights. There
are also good supporting performances from a sleazy James Woods, a very restrained
Don Rickles and gangster stalwart Frank Vincent.
is a visually stunning, superbly acted take on organised crime. Scorsese excels
again, getting the best out of his actors and recreating the time and period with
the utmost authenticity. While not as good as 'Goodfellas', this is still outstanding
storytelling that you cannot help but be drawn into.
Presented in Anamorphic Widescreen 2.35:1 with Dolby
Digital 5.1 surround sound track, transfer is very good.
Moments with Martin Scorsese, Sharon Stone, Nicholas Pileggi
The cast and crew offer insights into the story and the making
of the film at moments through the movie. While this is not a true commentary
track and has an irritating voice introducing the speaker every time it changes,
it does offer some interesting insights into the film and the making of it.
Casino: The Story (8.15 mins)
Director Martin Scorsese
and author/screenwriter Nicholas Pileggi talk about the true origins of the story
and how they both became involved in the project. The pair reveals the truth behind
the characters and how the film was an unofficial follow up to 'Goodfellas', shooting
it in the same style with narration.
Casino: The Cast and Characters
Director Martin Scorsese, author/screenwriter Nicholas Pileggi,
producer Barbara DeFina, editor Thelma Schoorimaker and stars Robert De Niro,
Joe Pesci, Sharon Stone and Frank Vincent talk about bringing the 'Goodfellas'
group back together and bringing in some new actors into the fold. Here we see
Sharon Stone's auditions and how working with Scorsese, Pesci and De Niro affected
her personally and her acting. The featurette also takes you behind the scenes
of the shoot as the cast and crew recreate the events that happened in the late
70s and early 80s Vegas.
Casino: The Look (16.31 mins)
Martin Scorsese, author/screenwriter Nicholas Pileggi, producer Barbara DeFina,
editor Thelma Schoorimaker, production designer Dante Ferretti, costume designer
Rita Ryack and star Sharon Stone talk about recreating the 70s glamour of Vegas.
From the costumes to the casino, everything in the movie had to be authentic and
this featurette takes you through the preparation for the movie.
After the Filming (9.21 mins)
Director Martin Scorsese, author/screenwriter
Nicholas Pileggi, producer Barbara DeFina, editor Thelma Schoorimaker and star
Sharon Stone take you through postproduction on the movie and what happened after
it was released. Sharon Stone talks about the awards and good reviews both the
film and her performance gained, as the cast and crew reveal the secrets behind
the title sequence, music and the length of the movie.
This montage of deleted or extended scenes shows more of Martin
Scorsese's mother's cameo, more of Nick Santoro and more of Sam 'Ace' Rothstein.
Vegas and the Mob (13.42 mins)
NBC news special investigates
the involvement of the mob in Las Vegas for over 40 years. From the original 'Flamingo'
casino built by Bugsy Seagal through to the real life characters that the movie
'Casino' was based upon, the programme charts the role of the mob in shaping Vegas
and how their reign ended in the 1980s.
History Alive: True Crime Authors:
Casino with Frank Pileggi (43.46 mins)
A special look at the career of
author Frank Pileggi and the influence he has had on crime novels and motion pictures.
With interviews with Frank 'Lefty' Rosenthal, the author talks about the story
of Frank, who became Sam 'Ace' Rothstein in the book and movie, his influence
on Vegas and his relationship with the mob. The programme reveals how close the
film was to what actually happened in Vegas at that time, with only the names
of the principle players changing. This is fascinating material that really complements
the film and gives author Pileggi the chance to shine.
View the full production notes from 'Casino'
Universal have done an excellent job with this special edition
DVD release of one of Scorsese much-undervalued gems. The bonus features are excellent
with the fascinating featurettes and insights into the real events that shaped
the story. The only shame is that Joe Pesci and Robert De Niro didn't have much
to do with the extras, as it would have been nice to have more of their input.
Fans will be delighted with this package.
The Usher Home
| Hush, Hush... | The
Big Story | The Usher Speaks
@ Home | Coming Soon | Links
| Contact the Usher