Articles & Notes — April 30, 2013 at 5:52 pm

Is there a twist on the classic casino film horizon?

robert-de-niro-casinoWhether it’s being robbed, visited or protected, the casino is a central theme of hope, chance, risk and despair. It’s no wonder that some of the most enthralling movies of all time have been set in casinos – a trend that’s guaranteed to continue – but as films have captured the development of gambling trends, how will film makers incorporate online gambling as the phenomenon continues to grow?

Casinos are quintessential to some genres. While Casino Royale was the height of 007 and his affinity to the gambling world, a visit to a casino is a must in any James Bond movie.

Unlike many films, Bond’s need to hit the tables is less about winning cash and more about earning respect and attention. For Bond, it is a power play.

Similarly, Casino, directed by Martin Scorsese and released in 1995, is a place where money and power are asserted. In this case it’s Robert De Niro who runs casinos for the Mafia.

Another favourite theme in casino movies is that of beating the odds – the illegal way. From 1973’s great casino heist movie, The Sting with Paul Newman and Robert Redford, to the more elaborate attempts in Ocean’s 11, 12 and 13, to the card-counting MIT geniuses in the movie 21 – hope is maintained through beating the system rather than luck.

But it’s not only the high-end play grounds of the Monte Carlo. Movies also feature the average Joe on the slot machines, hoping to hit the jackpot in the likes of Reno, or the fun and adventure of taking a risk.

Casinos played an integral role in setting the scene in The Hangover (2009), Very Bad Things (1998) as well as the psychedelic Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.

It will be interesting to see how film makers are able to incorporate the increase in online gambling. From Mr Jones betting on the Jet to Mrs Smith making a play at Intertops, the casino has shifted inside our suburbs. Surely we are bound to see a new dynamic in the classic casino movie.

The genre is set for a twist but will can writers and film makers include the very universal emotional-rollercoaster-feelings that the casino conjures? We wait eagerly.

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