The Gist: Sam "Ace" Rothstein is a bookie and expert handicapper trusted by the mob for his intuitions and tasked to (informally) run their Tangiers casino in Las Vegas. The casino is a way for the mob to launder their cash and to also make a profit by skimming off the top. Ace is joined by a childhood friend, Nicky Santoro, who becomes the enforcer for Ace and the casino. Things start to sour when Nicky greedily decides he wants to run his own gang in the city and when Ace falls for and marries a hustler named Ginger, not minding her obviously being in it for the money and power.
Casino was one of Martin Scorsese's movies I was still missing and was looking forward to watch, but it ultimately left me wanting. I know this will likely get me booed out of town, but I thought it was way too long and achingly slow.
Now, I love Scorsese's work. I think he's one of the best and most creative minds in Hollywood, and he's a fantastic director. I watch pretty much anything he directs and oftentimes even the stuff he produces, because I really like his style and his stories.
His movies are often way longer than average precisely because he takes his time in setting up the story, fleshing out the characters, and building the stage for the big payoff ahead, all noble reasons worthy of respect. This time, however, I just felt an undeniable current of boredom simmering just below the surface that in the end couldn't be ignored any longer.
That forced me to lower my grade, because as far as the story is concerned, it's interesting, full of intrigue and twists, well directed, and perfectly acted by Robert De Niro, Sharon Stone, and Joe Pesci.
The Bottom Line: Would I recommend Casino in spite of its shortcomings? Absolutely, because it's pure Scorsese and it's a very good story, just be aware that it might not feel as great as some of his other movies.