Casino Royale has to have a mention – it's in the title. While Bond makes several trips to the poker table during this film, the most notable scene is toward the end of the film in an incredibly high stakes poker game. Bond is up against Le Chiffre, our scarred villain again, a show-off in which they each keep raising the stakes until 115million is at hand. Despite Le Chiffre tricking Bond earlier on in the film with his “tell”, Bond just about wins; even more surprising considering he was only recently poisoned.
Indecent Proposal has just the one notable casino scene, when the millionaire played by Robert Redford meets Diana (Demi Moore). The shiny gold coins she places the bets with are subtly reflected in her thick gold jewellery, and the moment in which she presses the dice gently to her lips as a kiss and throws them is hypnotic; this glamour is perhaps the only thing missing from playing at an online casino like http://bgo.com, although perhaps that's a good thing judging by the rest of the film. This romanticisation of casino culture contrasts heavily with the famously funny “Get your feet off the table!” scene in which Robert De Niro takes a cowboy's socked feet up on the casino table as a huge sleight.
Oceans Thirteen has a great casino scene in which the team implement their heist, using a device to shut down the security system and “magnetron” devices disguised as lighters to control dice movements. They don't just win for themselves though – glowing numbers rising from the crowd show how much everyone is winning in the three minutes and twenty seconds of security down-time. It's undeniably suave.
In a pastiche of Oceans Thirteen, Rain Man and any card counting fiction, we have The Hangover's Blackjack scene. Alan (Zach Galifianakis) takes on the role as the counter here after finding “The Greatest Blackjack Book Ever”, his long hair slicked back and bruises all over his face. As he moves his mouth to count, numbers appear in the air around him as though he were a savant. The rest of the team come down for backup, simulating the traditional casino heist film and when the management start becoming suspicious Jade (Heather Graham) pretends to faint from her chair as the money slips away quietly.
The casino scene can cover a fairly wide variety of film genres and with wildly different views of the gambling world – the sensuality of Indecent Proposal's blackjack scene contrasts dramatically with films such as Croupier which focuses more on greed and corruption, evidenced by the clawing hands of the eager players. This diversity has ensured that the casino scene is an adaptable tool for film-makers willing to use the plentiful subject matter – and many more will.
Published August 28, 2013