March 27, 2015
Films Essay 2
Casino, directed by Martin Scorsese, is a movie that was adapted from events that took
place during the early days of Las Vegas. The premise of the movie revolved around the idea
that the casinos in Las Vegas in its early days was a very mafia oriented institution and the rise
and demise of a Jewish-America mobster, Sam “Ace” Rothstein, who ran the casino floor of the
Tangier Hotel. How Sam got the nickname “Ace” was the fact that he had a gift of always
picking the right picks when money was involved (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0112641/). For
example, when he gambled, he would research and would know everything that is going around
him and the entity he is betting on.
Director, Martin Scorsese, did an amazing job in visually depicting and rendering Sam
Rothstein’s rise and demise in the movie along with the chaos which compliments what goes on
in Las Vegas. By using a range of shots from establishing shot all the way to close up and
extreme close up shots, Martin Scorsese was able to give detail of what will happen and the
chaos that ensue with the opening scene of the movie. For instance, there are a few scenes in
the opening section of the movie that really depicts what this whole movie is all about:
In the first scene (also the last scene), the director shows Sam Rothstein walking to his
car, getting into his car, igniting his car, and followed up by the explosion of his car. However,
the director uses the explosion and flames as the transition into an extreme close up shot of the
lights and slot machines in Las Vegas. The extreme close up shots of the lights and slot
machines in Las Vegas was a great way to create a feeling of chaos, because anytime you are
looking at something very closely everything will become blurry and chaotic.
After a good 2 minutes of the extreme close up shot of all the lights and slot machines in
Las Vegas, the director brings you to the middle of the story line by transitions into the darken
image of Sam Rothstein’s back figure staring into the abyss of the casino floor he manages. The
director slowly zooms into Sam Rothstein’s figure; however, this shot is no ordinary zoom, it
actually zooms looking up at Sam Rothstein’s figure which establishes and lets the audience
know that he is the boss man.
After showing this shot, the director brings us to the close up shots of the secondary
characters that made Sam Rothstein who is and has his best friend narrating over the shots as
a way to introduce the characters. The director also uses the technique of the establishing shot
to show the audience where the whole story of the movie will be based out of.
After showing a few interactions between Sam Rothstein and his associates, the director
brings us to the dealings with happens behind close doors. By doing this, he familiarizes the
audience of what actually happens. The director uses a lot of angle shots to make the audience
feel as if they were part of the movie and see what the actors are actually seeing. With this
series of shots and scenes used so eloquently, the director establishes the base for what will be
coming for the rest of the movie.
The director uses dark, classical music in the close up and extreme close up shots in the
opening scene, in order to establish and give the feeling of chaos. The reason why the first
scene took two minutes before it transitioned into the close up shot looking up at Sam Rothstein
was to establish the fact that Sam Rothstein’s rise and demise was not a quick process.
This is a movie of betrayal, money, sex, lies.This is why I picked this movie for my major
critique.The movie is definitely one of the best made about the mob.It definitely ranks up there
with The Godfather and another Scorsese film,”Goodfellas”. Excellent story and acting are both
characteristics of the movie.The story was great in the sense that it focuses on the excesses of
language, of violence, of ambition in the life-styles of the rich