Most of the film unfolds during the 1970s, when The Mob controlled casinos from its HQ in Kansas City. De Niro plays Sam ‘Ace’ Rothstein, the skilful organiser chosen by the Mob to run the casinos according to their demands from behind the scenes (Ace himself is not licensed to operate a casino). As in Goodfellas, the seeds of destruction emerge from a volatile character that won’t play by the rules, played by Joe Pesci, whose Nicky Santoro is a violent, unstable standover man.
This complex story, with its twin narrative perspectives, is handled with absolute clarity by the director, thanks in no small part to Thelma Schoonmaker’s devastatingly precise editing. The film has all the energy and flair of Scorsese at his best, and it also has a career-best performance from Sharon Stone as Ginger.
Presented in association with the Sydney Film Festival and National Film and Sound Archive
4 Jun - 11 Jun
In what now seems to be the conclusion to an unofficial trilogy that began with Mean Streets (street crims) and continued with Goodfellas (mid-level gangsters), Casino explores the world of America’s major crime networks against the glittering but tawdry backdrop of the artificial desert city of Las Vegas (comparable, perhaps, in its glitter and tawdriness to Hollywood itself).