Casino Dvd

Written by Sarah Provost
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The three-hour Martin Scorsese movie Casino aims for epic status, and mostly achieves it. Based on the non-fiction book by Nicholas Pileggi, Casino tells the story of Vegas in the 1970s, when the mob began to lose its hold. Such a large theme needs strong characters to embody it, and Scorsese has the best.

Robert deNiro is Ace Rothstein, based on the real-life Frank (Lefty) Rosenthal. A cool customer, he has been sent to oversee the Tangiers casino and keep it running smoothly. Soon his childhood friend Nicky Santoro arrives. As played by Joe Pesci, he is all flamboyance and danger. Nicky starts interfering with the smooth operation Ace has set up, and tensions arise between the old friends.

Two Men and One Woman

Things go from bad to worse when Ace falls in love with Ginger McKenna, a high-class call girl. (Sharon Stone won a well deserved Oscar for the role.) He wants to marry her, but in order to pry her from her long-time pimp Lester Diamond (James Woods), he has to pay dearly, both in money and in anguish. As Ginger descends into alcoholism and drug addiction, she brings Ace down with her. And when she and Nicky betray Ace, all bets are off.

As in many of Scorsese's films, violence can reach grotesque heights. The gruesome scenes, however, seem inevitable, and it would be dishonest to exclude them. The movie got mixed reviews when it opened, but it seems to me to be almost Shakespearean in its grand scope and in its themes of loyalty and betrayal.

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