See and read the “Meeting in the Desert” scene from “Casino”
Nothing good can come of it if you meet someone in the desert a hundred yards from the main road.
Gangster movies have always been a part of my life. My father always had a gangster movie when he took his afternoon nap on Sunday afternoons, or my grandma played one while sewing her quilts or making dinner.
No matter whose house I was in The Godfather, Bugsy, or american gangster walked into one of the rooms and I always stopped what I did to see it.
But one movie I loved to see was Martin Scorsese’s casino. One of the many reasons I fell in love with the movie was because my grandparents loved Las Vegas. I’ve seen everything that happened in Las Vegas. Another reason I would find myself watching casino was because of how strong the dynamic was between the individual characters.
Check out this scene between Sam “Ace” Rothstein (Robert De Niro) and Nicky Santoro (Joe Pesci) and tell me their interaction is not everything and more:
It’s amazing to see how closely the final scene matches Nicholas Pileggi’s and Scorsese’s last script. The performances by De Niro and Pesci bring the intensity of the discussion to life. De Niro’s cool demeanor contrasts with Pesci’s anger, and the contrasting angle of the camera showing who is in power in the scene builds tension for the audience. The viewers don’t know how this conversation will end.
To be honest, Pesci’s character controls the entire scene, and the script shows how often Santoro Ace cuts off in mid-sentence.
These two characters are constantly bouncing off each other as they grow in power and slowly lose it over the years. It changes their relationship with one another, and arguments like this feel like turning points in their stories.
Writing dynamic characters can be a challenge, but focus on how one character’s desires interact with the desires of another character. Even knowing how these characters argue with each other and where they would do it reveals a character’s emotional state and intentions. Dialogue can reveal so much about a character’s relationship with others.
What are some of your favorite moments from casino? Let us know in the comments why you love this special moment!