If you had the opportunity to run the biggest, most successful casino in Las Vegas, would you be greedy or would you be just like all the other managers at competing casinos who do not have what it takes to be bold and successful at what they do? Perhaps there is something good to take from a just little bit of greed to get ahead in this life, but if you push it too far, the consequences drop down like dominoes- one after another. Even when it feels like you are miles ahead of your competition, you have to take the time to stop and take it slowly.
One of the biggest appeals of Casino are the casinos themselves. If you want to enjoy life to the fullest, you just have to gamble a little. You have to be adventurous, and not be afraid to take some risks. Without any risk taking, you cannot really enjoy the sense of achievement, or victory over your opposition. So what is it that motivates you? That is the bigger question which this film marvelously answers with its incredibly provocative story.
Robert De Niro plays Sam “Ace” Rothstein, a strong and dedicated leader of the biggest gambling empire in Vegas. As the big boss, there is nothing that goes by unnoticed; he has seen and sees it all. However, it is the things that you cannot see that have a much larger affect on your success. You can have all the power and authority, but if you cannot see what others do behind your back, you become blind and weak. Sometimes we are lead to believe that we can blindly trust those who work with us and see us on a daily basis. While it is worse to not trust anyone, there are times when people take advantage of your trust; and that ruins everything you have.
Based on that narrative scenario, De Niro’s character is one that he plays with gracious command. The stereotype of mob films is for the leader of the mob to have no regard for anyone in the mob except for himself. As much as the mob may seem to act as a mob family, push come to shove, the leader will not hesitate to take anyone out who does not serve well. Scorsese brilliantly offers an exception to that traditional narrative form, and presents a leader who acts with his heart as opposed to hunger for vengeance. This is very difficult to pull off given the type of men that he was associated with.
Joe Pesci delivers as strong of a performance as De Niro as his right hand man, Nicky Santoro. A ruthless, aggressive, and greedy character who mastered in double-crossing disguise. There are few who have delivered such strong performances as protagonists and antagonists at the same time the way Pesci does here. Sharon Stone plays as the wife of Rothstein who is not only obsessed with money and riches, but is also a coke addict. They are all joined by an outstanding supporting cast with strong performances, a provocative story, and outstanding dialogue. This is a classic mob genre film that you simply have to watch if you are a fan of the classic genre.