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:: Casino - Special Edition 2-DVD 10th Anniversary

It is Las Vegas 1973. Robert De Niro, Sharon Stone and Joe Pesci star in Director Martin Scorese‘s riveting look at how white-hot passion and excessive greed toppled an empire. In an era of over-the-top glitz, Sam “Ace” Rothstein (Robert De Niro) is riding high as front man for the Mob's multi billion-dollar Las Vegas operation. To protect their 'investment’, the bosses send in Ace's boyhood pal, hotheaded enforcer Nicky's (Joe Pesci) muscle - until sexy wild card Ginger McKenna (Sharon Stone) turns up the heat. This gripping story boasts extraordinary performances, a sizzling soundtrack and a dizzying look beneath the glamorous facade, beyond the closed doors, and behind the eyes of the men and women whose lives were made and lost with a roll of the dice.

Director Martin Scorsese has had a rich and varied career. Despite never having won an Academy Award for his directorial efforts, he has produced some of the best work in the cinematic medium over the last forty years. Combining extreme brutality with dramatic tension that impacts upon the audience even more than the violence, Scorsese has made an art form of this type of film. Casino was the culmination of all those elements into one brilliant epic.

Casino is one of Scorsese‘s greatest films. Like Boogie Nights did for the porn industry, Casino takes the troubled lives of a few keys players and paints a portrait of how another seedy underside of society 'messed up’ a good thing and let it become controlled by commercial interests. Given that this was one of Scorsese's last pictures to date about the Mafia, it is appropriate that it explores the end of an era. Every technique he has learned over the years is employed here, from the stylish shots of Las Vegas to the gritty and intimate shots of the lead actors.

The cast is impeccable. De Niro‘s 'Ace’ is made all the more compelling by the fact that he is not exactly a likeable fellow. He may be slick and know everything that is going on, but he is also cold and incredibly manipulative. Pesci is a stark contrast as the compulsive and hotheaded Nicky, something he is also known for. Stone also proves that when she wants to, she can turn out outstanding performances. One can't forget to mention James Woods as Stone's slimy ex, and the one thing in Ginger's life that she couldn't control. All of the characters are utterly convincing.

There are many extra features contained in the 2-DVD package. It is good to see Scorsese present on many of these featurettes, as he is often absent. The only thing missing is a lack of the original theatrical trailer.

DVD Extras

Disc 1
Audio commentary from Martin Scorsese and Sharon Stone

Disc 2
Behind the scenes with Martin Scorsese
Cast and characters
A look at how the unique style was created for the film
After The Filming - Why Casino is a classic
Deleted scenes
Vegas & the Mob - NBC News takes a look at the Las Vegas rough beginnings
History Alive: True crime authors: CASINO with Nicholas Pileggi