Director Martin Scorsese casts Robert De Niro as Sam 'Ace' Rothstein, the mob's frontman for a billion dollar Las Vegas casino. The story begins in 1973; Ace falls for hooker Ginger McKenna (Sharon Stone), while boyhood companion Nicky Santoro (Joe Pesci) is appointed as his muscle at the club. Over the years various jealousies surface and erupt in a series of violent betrayals and, ultimately, the destruction of Rothstein's empire.
Director Martin Scorsese reunites with members of his GoodFellas
gang (writer Nicholas Pileggi; actors Robert De Niro, Joe Pesci and Frank Vincent) for a three-hour epic about the rise and fall of mobster Sam "Ace" Rothstein (De Niro), a character based on real-life gangster Frank "Lefty" Rosenthal. (It's modelled on Wiseguy
and Pileggi's true crime book Casino: Love and Honour in Las Vegas
.) Through Rothstein, the picture tells the story of how the Mafia seized, and finally lost control of, Las Vegas gambling. The first hour plays like a fascinating documentary, intricately detailing the inner workings of Vegas casinos. Sharon Stone is the stand out among the actors; she nabbed an Oscar nomination for her role as the voracious Ginger, the glitzy call girl who becomes Rothstein's wife. The film is not as fast-paced or gripping as Scorsese's earlier gangster pictures (Mean Streets
and Good Fellas
) but it's still absorbing. And, hey--it's Scorsese! --Jim Emerson