As Neon Dreams slides into its fourth year, we realize we haven’t done nearly enough to explore noir cinema of the 1990s. And with that we’re kicking off our new year with Martin Scorsese’s 1995 crime epic, Casino, a film that (in our opinion) gets unfairly sidelined by its more successful bigger brother, Goodfellas.
Teaming up once again with Goodfellas-scribe Nicholas Pileggi, Casino takes a more personal approach to the gangster genre here with a character-driven ensemble structure that is arguably more Altman than Scorsese. And while Robert De Niro and Joe Pesci unsurprisingly chew up the scenery of a bygone Vegas, the true star here is the queen of the ’90s: Sharon Stone. Although (in typical fashion) overshadowed by her male co-stars, Stone’s performance embodies the heart, soul, and manic energy of Casino in a career-besting (and Oscar nominated) performance.
Detailing the glorious rise and fall of the Mafia-controlled Las Vegas strip through the ’70s into the early ’80s with meticulous research, outlandish costume design, and neon-glistened cinematography by Robert Richardson, Casino truly is an experience to behold. So get ready to double down on your Saturday night plans, Dreamers. May 19th will be the one trip you take to old Vegas that won’t leave you with your head in a vice (so to speak).
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