FEATURE MARTIN SCORSESE
Marty and the MOb
cry ol‘ delight mixes with the sound ol’ coins falling into a tin tray that's artificially amplified to make the win seem more momentous. Across the room. all eyes are on a pair of dice as they bounce along the green baize. But there‘s too much tension in the air. too much at risk for these games to be fun. In the mind of director Martin Scorsese. the desperate hopes of casino players are symptomatic ol‘ a tarnished American Dream that reaches its pinnacle in the tacky splendour of Las Vegas.
It was here that the dream was built and. for decades. controlled by the Mafia: and it’s here that Scorsese sets his latest movie. the aptly named ("mi/m. Again the director has cast Robert De Niro and Joe Pesci as the key gangsters. and again he has co-written a screenplay with journalist Nicholas Pileggi based on first person oral accounts of life in the bosom ot’ the mob. Does this mean it bears a close resemblance to a certain earlier Scorsese movie‘.’
‘ll‘ it’s like Good/"('l/as. well. that‘s because (‘l‘nmll’v/las is about the same people.‘ admits the 53—year-old New Yorker. tiring out answers as it‘ his last-forward control was stuck in the ‘on‘ position. ‘(‘usi/m visits those people and that way ot‘ life again. but they‘re on a higher level and have more at stake. Then you take them and you don‘t put them in Brooklyn or
In Mean Streets and GoodFe/lus. Martin Scorsese detailed the lows and highs ol‘ gangster life in New York. Now, in Casino. he heads west to Las Vegas. He tells Alan Morrison why he decided to roll the Malia dice one more time.
‘It’s a western, but they’re wearing silk suits and giant sunglasses and they’re driving up in cars. The romanticism of their characters stems from the tradition of the West. They behaved the way the old gunslingers did.’
Queens. you put them in the middle ol‘ the desert; it's a western. but they‘re wearing silk suits and giant sunglasses and they‘re driving tip in cars. 'l‘heir individuality and — I don’t mean this in a positive way — the romanticism ol' their characters stem from the tradition of the West. 'l‘hey behaved the way the old gunslingers did. And after they went down — and they took everything with them — the corporations came in and it became the America of today.‘
It‘s a story that Scorsese paints on an epic canvas — the lurid. shameless. neon come-on ot~ the Vegas lights; the bustle and nervous excitement of the casino interiors; the tense confrontations set against the wide. arid backdrops ol' the lonely desert. The rise and fall of Ace Rothstein is a Greek tragedy that ends an era. Rothstein. played by frequent Scorsese collaborator (and. arguably. his on-screen alter
10 The List 23 Feb-7 Mar 1996