You know, when directors have a signature style all their own, and they come to be regarded as one of the best of their generation, it stands to reason that a list of the greatest films ever will end up including multiple releases of the director. However, on a list such as the 1001 List, one must ask the question, how much is too much? Hitchcock, for example, has 18 films on the list, and one would be remiss to think that every single one of them deserves a spot on the list for a separate and distinguishing but equal reason. Here, we have Casino, a film that is in all respects a spiritual sequel to Martin Scorsese’s Goodfellas, and after watching it, I was left wondering why both films made the list when only one would’ve been enough to represent them.
Casino would be the resulting film if Martin Scorsese were inexplicably hired to do a Martin Scorsese tribute film. It is so Scorsese, layer upon layer, that to think of the film as anything else would be a futile effort and not worth the try. To put Scorsese in charge of a film about a Mob-connected Vegas casino would seem a redundant decision, and indeed the pair fits like a glove. All the signature Scorsese touches are there; a dynamic and active camera, a serious and gangster-minded cast of characters, and a narration (by three different characters, mind you) to cover it all. Indeed, the whole story of the film is pretty much entirely told through narration, which can rub the wrong way if one is looking for good storytelling in the film itself, but to each his own. Interesting side-fact: this film currently ranks fourth in the list of films that most frequently use the word “fuck”, so if language isn’t your thing, you should know better than to dive into this film.
Now, don’t get me wrong, Casino is not a bad film by any means; it succeeds wildly at what it attempts to do, even if it at times can seem overly long in length and in story. But the film is just way too damn similar to Goodfellas to warrant not comparing the two, and when one does, it’s easy to see the retreading going on. Even if you try to judge this film on its own merits, Goodfellas is still twice the film this is, and it did it all five years before Scorsese decided to walk familiar ground with this one. I liked the film, but it was just way too similar to warrant taking up another spot on the list, and I couldn’t let that go.
Arbitrary Rating: 7/10