By Dane Severance

Martin Scorsese is arguably the greatest living American filmmaker, a tightly coiled cinematic genius whose IMDB page is literally strewn with bona fide masterpieces (Goodfellas, Taxi Driver, Raging Bull), cultural touchstones (Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore), crime epics (The Irishman), controversial fire-starters (The Last Temptation Of Christ, The Wolf Of Wall Street), cult favourites (After Hours, The King Of Comedy, Cape Fear) and music milestones (The Last Waltz, Shine A Light, Rolling Thunder Revue).

One of Martin Scorsese’s most towering achievements, beloved by online pokies NZ, is 1995’s Casino, a big, sprawling crime drama that plays as a spiritual cousin to the director’s 1990 classic Goodfellas. It reunites that film’s stars Robert De Niro and Joe Pesci (who also burned holes in the screen together in 1980’s Raging Bull), and tells an expansive tale of gamblers, gangsters and hitmen, and the bruised and battered women who get mixed up with them. It’s a real Las Vegas story, but for Aussie locals, of course, Winvio is where you’ll find the best online casinos in Australia.

Vividly characterised, tightly plotted and driven by a running commentary on the dark and twisted underbelly of The American Dream, Casino is a huge, sprawling film, the direct descendent of widescreen epics like Lawrence Of Arabia, Apocalypse Now and The Godfather. It’s a massive undertaking and a triumph for Martin Scorsese.

Robert De Niro is Sam “Ace” Rothstein, an ambitious gambler out of Chicago who heads to America’s gambling capital and eventually ends up running four casinos. Surrounded by wealth and luxury, Ace falls for and marries deeply troubled former Vegas showgirl Ginger McKenna (a never-better Sharon Stone), and creates an air of respectability around himself. Rothstein, however, is hip-deep in corruption and criminality. All of the casino boss’s dirty work, however, is done by his friend Nicky Santoro (Joe Pesci in full flight), a hitman who has no problem busting heads and putting people in the ground. But when Ace and Nicky clash over business and women, the empire that they have built up together crumbles in a wailing cacophony of violence, betrayal and brutality.

Casino moves like a cinematic freight train, and is a truly bravura piece of filmmaking. “Like with Goodfellas before it, Scorsese utilises dynamic, virtuoso camerawork to give his story a screaming pace and slick sense of motion,” writes Cameron Beyl at The Directors Series. “Casino is less of a film with linear scenes conveying plot than it is one long montage encompassing a decade of high times and bad behaviour, and regular editor Thelma Schoonmaker expertly puts every little piece in just the right place, fashioning it into the definitive Las Vegas film.”

Martin Scorsese’s films, despite their eye-popping use of cinema language and wild lashings of violence, are all deeply human affairs, and in Casino, it is the characters that really drive the story and make this such a fascinating film. The people at the dark, brutal heart of Casino are what make it a masterpiece. “It’s the glints of humanity – Ginger fighting for her life, Nicky pained to witness his brother tortured, Ace leaving his kingdom – that give the film its hypnotic hold,” says Peter Travers in Rolling Stone. “Casino delivers the rush you only get from an audacious gamble. No movie lover worth the name would pass up the chance to watch Scorsese roll the dice.”

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