The rise and fall of crackerjack handicapper Sam "Ace" Rothstein (Robert De Niro playing a character inspired by Lefty Rosenthal), as his acute abilities earn him the reins of the mob controlled Tangiers Casino in Las Vegas before his hot headed best friend/enforcer (Joe Pesci), a gorgeous and avaricious call girl (Sharon Stone), and his own vanity all combine to topple his empire. Working again with Nicholas Pileggi, Martin Scorsese's Casino is another detailed, stylish, and richly textured work that, while bordering a little too closely to Goodfellas territory, still makes for a riveting entertainment for the duration of its extensive running length. The film provides De Niro with one of his career performances, as he somewhat remarkably generates sympathy for an unlikable character. Pesci plays more of the same but is still wickedly amusing and the Stone performance, one I've wavered about over the years, presently strikes me as audacious and powerful. My only major objection is with the level of violence, which is amongst the harshest I've seen in a studio film. What could have been made just as effectively in a more restrained manner serves only to take you out of the picture.