As hard as it may be to believe we are entering the home stretch of the Decades Blogathon, hosted by myself and the indubitable Tom from Digital Shortbread! The blogathon focuses on movies that were released in the fifth year of the decade. Tom and I are running different entries each day; and this one comes from Fernando at Committed To Celluloid. Fernando’s site is one of my favourites out there in the blogosphere, so do yourself a favour and take a visit!
It seems so strange that Casino came out only 20 years ago. Martin Scorsese’s 1995 offering seems much older, and yes, I mean it as a compliment.
Arguably one of ole Marty’s best (or my favorite, anyway), Casino, not just because it’s set in that era, truly feels, looks and carries itself like a film of the seventies.
Riveting, stylish and peppered with bursts of extreme violence – something of a trademark for the director – I have an inkling Goodfellas’ better not-quite-a-sequel wouldn’t feel like the awkward stranger in the decade of timeless classics like Dog Day Afternoon, Chinatown and The Godfather Parts I and II.
High praise? It may be, but it’s not every day that a talky three-hour movie where not a lot goes on happens to breeze by and be totally absorbing, much less upon a second viewing.
The jazzy soundtrack is one tiny, yet pivotal part in the film’s success, which can mainly be attributed to two things: the superb script by Scorsese and Nicholas Pileggi, filled with vibrant dialogue and just the right amount of humour, and the presence of Joe Pesci in a meaty role that called for the Oscar-winner’s brilliant performance.
Pesci’s Nicky throws around f-bombs like nobody’s business (for a while, the film held the record for most uses of the curse, with 435, or 2.4 times per minute on average) and is, at the same time, Casino’s main source of comic relief and its most frightening character. Who knew tiny could be so intimidating?
Despite being overshadowed by Pesci’s flashier performance, Robert De Niro (of course) and Sharon Stone are solid, and they look great in their lavish costumes too. Stone, in particular, looks breathtakingly beautiful during the first hour of the film, before her Ginger loses herself to drugs and booze. Sharon is a sparkly vision in her first scene, which is also Scorsese’s favorite.
Sitting comfortably at #140 in the IMDb Top 250 (at the time of this review), Casino may not be as loved as other Scorsese gems, but it’s a fantastic film that demonstrates why Marty is one of the best directors still in the business.