13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
This review is from: Casino (2 Disc Special Edition) [DVD] (DVD)
You could write this film off as a Goodfellas rehash, but don't! It is quite simply, fantastic! Of course, the similarities to Goodfellas are there, what with the obvious one being the cast and crew. The good thing is, though, is that Casino somehow manages to feel quite different despite looking the same.
The acting is, like Goodfellas, absolutely suberb, with even the bit part players convincing. An Oscar Nominated Sharon Stone as Ginger is absolutely stellar, in parts stealing the show as a money grabbing hustler only out for herself. Joe Pesci is also excellent as Nicky Santoro, practically playing Tommy Devito all over again, albeit slightly more sinister, if you can imagine that. It's Robert Deniro who really shines in this movie though as Sam 'Ace' Rothstein, the calm and calculating Casino Director.
What amazes me about Deniro is that he always seems to not just play the character, but become them. Unlike other flavour-of-the-month, Hollywood expendables, Deniro is always a different person with different traits that he brings to the role through acting without having to use the script to show who his character is. Here, he does just that. There is barely a trace of his Goodfellas role, the cold, ruthless Jimmy Conway.
Also look out for James Woods as the ultimate loser boyfriend and Kevin Pollak of The Usual Suspects as mafia pawn Philip Green.
The style of the film is also Goodfellas-esque, but that could only be a good thing. Scorsese's philosophy must be that, if you've a good idea, why not use it again? The editing is quick and therefore helps along the pace. It's amazing how much information he and editor Thelma Schoonmaker can cram into a film. It may be nearly three hours long, but considering the timeline spans 10 years, that's pretty good.
Music, once again like Goodfellas, is also used heavily and effectively. Most of the time you don't even notice it's there, but when you do, you find that hundreds of tracks are used across almost the entire film, amazingly always fitting perfectly with the tone and length of the scene.
The question is, which is better: Casino or Goodfellas? Having loved Goodfellas and ranking in my all time top films, I'd have to say that my personal favourite has definitely changed to Casino. It's the way that, yes, it is like Goodfellas, but on a much larger scale. It's as though Scorsese just wanted more. The violence is more graphic, the costumes are colourful and garish, the performances are equally terrific, but, at parts, more stand-out and memorable.
If you enjoy Scorsese's work and this masterpiece has so far eluded you, I recommend you buy it right away.