When you walk into a casino you’re in a place that is designed to make you feel good. The lights are flashy and upbeat, music is pumping and there’s always a crowd to mingle with. The games themselves vary from poker to blackjack where people hone their strategy, or to slot machines where they can try their luck at getting lucky. There is a sense of energy that is hard to replicate.
While the casino business is a huge industry that makes a lot of money, it’s not a sure thing for all casinos. Like a hit movie or consumer product, a new casino can be successful but only until someone does it better, offers a more convenient location or has a lower price point. This is especially true for casinos which compete with resorts, non-gambling hotels, online gambling and an illegal gambling business much larger than the legal one.
After the success of Goodfellas and a healthy return on investment for Universal, Scorsese began work on Casino which would star Robert De Niro and Joe Pesci in another mafia drama based on a fact-based book by Nicholas Pileggi. A more rounded and mature movie than his previous effort, Casino manages to tell a fascinating story that is gripping from start to finish. Despite its length, the film never sags and the editing is taut and masterful. Even the scenes that depict a torture-by-vice sequence featuring a popped eyeball or a brutal baseball bat beating are well edited and sound-designed.