Scorsese's movie is technically impressive. There's even something inherently fascinating about the subject - the way Las Vegas, and the organised criminals who run it, have changed over the last couple of decades. What's wrong is the approach: virtuosity seems almost to have become an end in itself, and, as the film charts the experiences of Sam 'Ace' Rothstein (De Niro), a gambler the Mob places in charge of the Tangiers casino, Scorsese's dazzling, kinetic technique calls attention to itself so persistently that story and characters retreat into the background. Not that there's much story, anyway. The first two hours are so heavily voice-overed, so bereft of narrative drive, that the film initially resembles some bizarre, hyper-glossy drama-doc. Eventually, some semblance of plot seeps into the last hour, about Ace's disastrous dealings with his ex-hooker wife Ginger (Stone, fine in an underwritten role) and with the uncontrollably volatile mobster Nicky (Pesci), but even that's like a tired rerun of GoodFellas. The result, sadly, is that contradiction in terms, a dull Scorsese movie.
Cast and crew
|Screenwriter:||Martin Scorsese, Nicholas Pileggi|
Robert De Niro