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Casino: Farewell to the Past

According to most reviews, Casino is a picture which returned former popularity to Scorsese and De Niro. It became classics long before its appearance on the big screen and in distribution, thereby it contributed towards reviving the tradition of a thrilling gangster movie.

Without doubt, the dramatic movie Casino, released in distribution in 1995, is still considered one of the best films about casino in the history of cinema (Thompson & Christie, 1996).

Casino was filmed by Martin Scorsese. The plot of the movie was based on the book of the same name written by Nicholas Pileggi and Larry Shandlinga. The film was premiered in the U.S. theaters on 22 November 1995.

The film logically concludes the gangster film trilogy launched by the films Mean Streets and Goodfellas The acting of duo De Niro – Pesci is associated with the last picture Casino. It is rightfully considered the perfect gangster movie – sub-genre of thriller, crime film about organized crime. Most of the classic examples of this trend pertain to the 1920s – 1950s, the heyday of gangs in the U.S. Unlike the so-called police films, the main characters of the gangster dramas are not acting as the ministers of law and order, although there is an apparent attempt to justify the actions and romanticize the lifestyle of the criminals and leaders of criminal communities.

It is known that the interest in gangster films grew simultaneously with the rise of illegal alcohol market during the “dry law” and reached its first peak of popularity in the years of the Great Depression (Baxter 1970).

According to various analysts, Martin Scorsese is the Best Director for a mafia theme. However,Casino is the most striking film about also about love among all his works. This film tells the story about the love, of the successful manager of the largest casino in Las Vegas, Sam “Ace” Rotsteyn, played by Robert DeNiro, for Ginger McKenna, played by Sharon Stone.

Ginger is the brightest beauty of partying in Las Vegas, an elite prostitute, reckless adventurer. While selling her ‘love’, she tends to break rich men lives. Sam “Ace” is the largest intellectual of mafia clan that controls gambling in Vegas. He is a hyper and more than anyone else knows how to make money from the air in this industry.

Ginger herself captivates by her appearance and outstanding behavior. He understands better than anyone who this girl is. He likes her for who she really is and decides to conquer her. Sam is confident in his thought that Ginger will eventually fall for him.

Nonetheless, the prostitute is not capable of love. She has an unhealthy state of mind. Ginger stands in the way of self-destruction, furthermore, the love for her is too complicated. Therefore, in the relations of Sam and Ginger, the sad end is inevitable. On the whole, the main movie storyline is rather simple.

The absence of direct explicit scenes in the movie should be noted. Scorsese’s film is considerably benefited by this sexual restrain. The viewer’s attention is focused on the fact that the director wanted to highlight which is the relationship of the main characters, passions raging under the cover of respectability, and human weakness that can not be corrected by any money.

Character of Sam Rotshteyn had real prototype – Frank “Lefty” Rosenthal, who ruled from 1970’s to early 1980’s Casino “Stardust”, “Fremont” and “Hacienda” (Weber, 2008).

Robert De Niro, psychologically and voluminously depicted tycoon of gambling mafia appointed to observe the flow of daily activities in the fictional casino “Tangier” in Las Vegas. All the characters of the film somehow pass their way up and their way down, but the line of Rothsteyn is the central plot-building. He is one of the few who managed to survive after the cleaning of the Mafia series. By the end of the movie, he loses almost everything he has gained, but his daughter from Ginger, Thus, he comes back to where he started – the sweepstakes games and betting on sports games. This talent remained with him.

Scorsese’s films are vividly discussed by film critics and cinema historians. His early experiments and creative low-budget production (assembly of “Woodstock” with Michael Wadley; documentary Mean Streets, The Last Waltz), are memorable for cinema lovers and also included in the annals Taxi DriverRaging BullThe Last Temptation of ChristGoodfellas).

Depicting a multi-figured drama of American life of the last century (The Age of Innocence, 1993), Scorsese remained himself, though he obviously sacrificed one of his trump cards which is the ability to pass nerve of that era, that is not yet history.

The director, who turned 53 years old in November 1995, entered a new age of cinema with his Casino. Screenwriter Nicholas Gilledzhi, who also worked with Scorsese on Goodfellas, defined the movie’s plot as “the history of the world of business at the highest level, where the hundreds of millions of dollars are turned over” (Rausch, 2010).

In Casino, the view of a mature Scorsese on illusion of victory at all costs has found its expression, vulnerability compassionate, moral inferiority romanticized world of “money and fame”. Interestingly, the movie Casino was the last work of De Niro and Scorsese. Thus, they have reached the highest point in the cooperation (Baxter, 2002).

Long, majestic and detailed Casino is considered to be, in fact, unnecessary repetition of Goodfellas: the mafia as a reflection of the world as a whole, the violence and raving dwarf Pesci. However, the world opened by filmmaker in the documentary books of the former “brother” Nicholas Pilledzhi (based on which both gangster saga were directed) was universal. Moreover, it is suitable for the creation of a truly epic, a sort of mixture of the Old Testament and the Criminal Code. To the peal of root ballad “House of the Rising Sun” card crumbling palace of Rothstein is falling – “a point not usually kills and an ace to eleven”. Overweight and majestic requiem to gentlemen of recent luck becomes also a requiem for the epic, hysterical cinematography of emotions going wild, mad spending and conflicts that can be solved only by a bullet in the forehead, which in economical world of 90’s is no longer necessary. It is not a coincidence that the Casino was a farewell bow of late Saul Bass, brilliant artist of titles, once screwing spiral in introductions of Hitchcock’s Vertigo, while in Scorsese drowned symbols of earthly prosperity in the outbursts of hellfire.

The film tells the story of a very exciting era in the history of the United States – the era of the destruction of the old Las Vegas (city built on the money of mafia), and the birth of a new, present Vegas.

Casino is a sort of farewell of Scorsese to gangster world, lawlessness and impunity. It imprinted the end of the old era of the American West.

Scorsese predicted a future that has already become a reality. The end of Casino, as always, gives audience some food for thought. Las Vegas is a primarily the city of mafia, as it was established by gangsters, whose names can be seen in the museum of the Mafia, which is also located there. Scorsese shows the collapse and death of casino bandits. Thus, Las Vegas will never be the same again. Mafia, invincible corruption and monopoly were replaced by the huge companies.

Now, any person can go to casino.. Earlier, it was a place of bandits, “dirty” politicians and the Senate, and as for now, even pensioners can go to the casino, who lose their pension balances here, just like other people “destroying their lives”. Martin makes it clear that this field was originally for gangsters, and even better if they coffined themselves. In online casinos, most people see the meaning of life, completely forgetting about their children. The most surprising fact is that these words sounded in Casino from Scorsese in 1995, and at that time, online casino games were not so popular, and sports channels did not show poker.

Martin Scorsese is called a prophet. He says that by getting rid of the Mafia and giving the rich companies the right to rule in Vegas, the mayor and senators have doomed ordinary people to the suffering in these ever-luminous halls. Now the casino is not perceived as a place where criminals go, even 18 year old boys can play poker for a scholarship. “Would these children play in the casino, if there was a mafia? I do not think so. Gangsters and in particular Sam Rotshteyn’s received their money without it. But the owners of monopoly still, they are willing to break every last pants. Think about how it would be better” (Manning, 2008).

Sure, Martin Scorsese sympathizes for the criminal world. He snorted cocaine and has been seen in violation of the law more than once, but he does not praise the mafia, he shows his reasoned opinion.

Being oriented to social lampoon genre, gangster films carry a moral charge. In the era of the Great Depression, when the country found itself in a deep crisis, the foundations of the social consciousness were put by artists in question. If the way of life of the nation is broken, some of the national myth was false. Thus, the first thing under their suspicion gets the most American of myths which is the myth of success and prosperity. This myth was rehabilitated in 1934 by Franklin D. Roosevelt, who made it a key in his election program. Nonetheless, until 1934, it was replaced by continuous despair and horror. That is why Casino displays a dual character – a man with a dream, a cruel and immovable and vulnerable at the same time.

Analyzing the destinies of prototypes, characters and their executives made Casino so multilayered that now the movie tells a different story. However, it is initially a gangster saga, the story of Las Vegas of the time, the stage of development of the gambling business, and a love story as well.

When watching Casino more than once, it reveals the unknown layers for audience. It also makes the audience to enjoy the favorite episodes from the film by watching them over and over again. The essence of Scorsese’s film is what makes to stand in the end of the film, whereas along with former casino that had been blown up by new owners of Las Vegas, more than just buildings had fallen.

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