Tuesday, 26 January 2016

I've Just Seen: Casino (1995)

Casino (1995)


Director: Martin Scorsese

There are a bunch of Scorsese films included on the 1001 Films list: nine in my edition. This puts him in the same class as Bergman, Hitchcock and Kubrick, which I would never argue with: Scorsese is a modern filmmaking master. Taxi Driver is a wonderful portrait of seething masculinity, and Raging Bull renders an ugly subject utterly beautiful. Regarding Casino however, I find myself unable to enthuse about the film as I could with the other two.

I am not a fan of the gangster genre; while many of cinemas' greatest movies are about these complex worlds of family and death, I don't find the lifestyles portrayed in them appealing in the slightest. The result is that I am unable to enter into the hedonism often presented, even if it comes with the downfall, and have even felt bored by what was going on on scren.

Apart from my lukewarm feelings to the subject matter, I can see the craft and skill Scorsese put into this film (as he puts into all his films). There is a tactility to story, presented through the shiny bright lights of Las Vegas, and the excessive wardrobe of pretty much everyone on screen. This facade is fragile, something the characters don't discover until it is too late.

The film is funnier than the other Scorsese's films I have seen, with the mulitple voiceovers from Ace (DeNiro) and Nicky (Pesci) explaining how things got to where they are working well with the images we see. The film is close to three hours, always a huge commitment to make to a film, and I was slightly exhausted at the end: the excess never stops!

A good film, but not my cup of tea.


  1. I liked Casino, but as I think about it, I like it less and less over time (kinda like I feel about Braveheart). It's not a Scorsese film I ever think I want to go back to, so I pretty much don't go back to it.

    1. It is not up to Scorsese's usual brilliance. Indifference is the worst emotion to feel after watching a film, and that is what I felt with this one. While more brutal, I'd much rather watch Raging Bull or Taxi Driver again.