This movie is to Goodfellas kind of what El Dorado was to Rio Bravo or Rio Lobo (Rio Lobo would be more the Departed in this comparison though I guess). An indirect remake with many of the same actors in a different setting.
When the premise is as good as Goodfellas, who’s gonna complain? Joe Pesci gets to play perhaps his most memorable and most stereotypical Joe Pesci character ever, crushing skulls in vice grips and stabbing folks who smartoff in the neck with their own ink pens and whatnot.
De Niro on the other hand is the calm and calculated Casino Boss, until he falls for the Femme Fatale of the film, Sharon Stone. Between a friend like Pesci and a lover like Stone, he quickly winds up, up to his neck in more trouble than he can deal with.
Stylistically this movie is a joy to watch, that said (and this opinion is controversial in some circles) compared to Goodfellas I thought the middle parts definitely started to drag. My favorite scene personally is the one where De Niro’s character shows one of his employees exactly how to make a blueberry muffin.
A silly choice perhaps, but one that shows the true level of micro management that the character was capable of.
I am a fan of gangster flicks in the same way I am a fan of westerns, and after a while they all sort of start to blend together. This movie stands out due to a stellar cast, an all-star director, and tons and tons of style.
In the end though, I have to admit the final word on this film might go to David Spade, who once famously quipped during an edition of Weekend Update on Saturday Night Live “Casino? Ca-seen it, liked it better when it was called Goodfellas.”
Casino gets a four out of five: GREAT.