Casino combines action, glamor and history into a story that’s as entertaining as it is educational. It’s hard not to be drawn into the film, whether it’s because of the Oscar-winning acting of Robert De Niro and Joe Pesci or the stunning scenery of Sin City. The movie also serves as a primer on the many ways casinos manipulate people into spending their money.
Casinos are designed to make it impossible for patrons to leave, even to meet basic needs like eating and sleeping. They use lights, sounds and even physical design to trick you into betting more cash than you planned on. The end result is that you walk out of a casino not knowing what time it is or how much money you spent.
Those tricks begin on the casino floor, where employees keep an eye on all patrons. Dealers have a narrow focus that allows them to spot blatant cheating such as palming and marking cards and dice, while pit bosses and table managers can see the whole room and watch for suspicious behavior. Cameras mounted on the ceiling offer a high-tech “eye-in-the-sky” that can be adjusted to focus on certain tables, change windows and even monitor individual patrons.
Casino is also one of the most violent movies Scorsese has ever made, with a torture-by-vice scene and an attempted murder of De Niro’s character using a baseball bat. The director doesn’t just use the violence for style or shock value, though; it’s a true depiction of the real world that exists outside the casino’s doors.