It’s happened to us all: You stride into the Luxor, Mohegan Sun, or Tropicana brimming with confidence and your wallet filled with cash. You plan for a bit of enjoyable, sensible gaming and maybe two rounds of cocktails. Hours later you’ve no idea what time it is, how many drinks you’ve had, or where your money went. That’s because casinos are designed to keep you gambling, using sounds, lights, and physical design to create a manufactured blissful experience that is hard to step away from.
Casino is a classic movie about gambling and the seedier side of Las Vegas. It’s not a film for the faint of heart, as it’s packed with violence, treachery, and avarice. But there’s no denying the power of the cast, led by a ferocious Robert De Niro and an unforgettable Sharon Stone. It’s also one of the few movies to depict the real-world dangers of gambling addiction. Fortunately, the film’s truly hellacious violence — including a torture-by-vice sequence that includes a popped eyeball and a baseball bat-beating — had to be trimmed in order to avoid an NC-17 rating. Even so, the movie is a lean, mean thriller from beginning to end.