December 20, 2023

CASINO: Scorsese at his Scorsesiest

CASINO Remastered Edition (Blu-ray)
1995 / 179 min
Available at
Review by Mr. Bonnie😺

Casino was always Martin Scorsese at his ‘Scorsesiest.’ All of the narrative and stylistic flourishes we’ve come to associate with the director over the years are here in abundance. At the same time, it’s also one of the few times he appeared to be resting on his laurels. 

Not that there’s anything wrong with that. I mean, if you’re gonna repeat yourself, you could do far worse than taking everything that made Goodfellas great and cranking the amps up to 11. It doesn’t make Casino a better film, of course. Viewed as a spiritual sequel (which Scorsese himself does), it’s essentially more of the same…only bigger and ultimately more exhausting. 

In a way, Casino almost plays like fan service featuring the director’s greatest hits (at least regarding his gangster films)…kinetic pace, morally-questionable characters, sudden & shocking violence, pop standards to mark the time, painstaking attention to period detail, Thelma Schoonmaker’s impeccable editing, a Nicholas Pileggi screenplay, an amusing cameo by Marty’s mom, De Niro doing De Niro, Joe Pesci as a loose cannon and, of course, a denouement that confirms everyone is ultimately their own worst enemy.

"Grape favorite."
The whole thing is slick and entertaining. Technically and aesthetically, it’s the work of a modern master at the top of his game. But aside from the revelatory performance he coaxes from Sharon Stone, Scorsese doesn’t bring anything new to the table. Casino is arguably the first movie where he seems content to revisit past glories. That he does it successfully isn’t the point. He’s made less entertaining films that reflect more of an effort to break new creative ground, even within the gangster genre. 

But Casino could have simply been titled ‘Scorsese’ and we’d still know exactly what we’re gonna get, which in some ways is a great thing. If nothing else, the film remains a three-hour dish of cinematic comfort food, something we all need from time to time. 

I don’t know if this new “Remastered Edition” features better picture or sound quality from previous Blu-ray editions, but it looks and sounds great. There aren’t any new bonus features, and what’s here is fairly perfunctory, so this re-issue is probably meant for those who always meant to add the film to their collection but never got around to it.


FEATURETTES - The Story; The Cast and Characters; The Look; After the Filming.

HISTORY ALIVE: TRUE CRIME AUTHORS - This is an A&E documentary, mostly about author/screenwriter Nicholas Pileggi. Kind of undone by the usual A&E ‘re-enactments’ rather than just using the movie.

VEGAS AND THE MOB - A short NBC doc from 2005. Has nothing to do with the movie.

MOMENTS WITH MARTIN SCORSESE, SHARON STONE, NICHOLAS PILEGGI and MORE - Essentially audio commentaries of certain segments. The “more” includes editor Thelma Schoonmaker and producer Barbara De Fina.


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