A Casino Is the Perfect Prop for Tension and Character Building on Film
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Film history is littered with unforgettable casino scenes. Sometimes the film takes center stage – casino, hard eight, croupier. At other times it might have a fleeting look, but act as the driver throughout the storyline – Casino Royale, The Godfather, Rain Man. Whether this is the setting for most of your movie or just used for a few minutes, the casino can act as the perfect driver for your story and a means of building tension that will affect your audience.

To explain what we mean, it's best to ask the question: Why do filmmakers often choose to shoot casino scenes in the first place? Of course, this is not a question with a single answer. Francis Ford Coppola needed Moe Green's casino in The Godfather for very different reasons than Terry Gilliam in Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. Barry Levinson, in turn, used it for different purposes in Rain Man than Todd Phillips in The Hangover, even if the blackjack scene in the latter was inspired by the former.

But if we look at the casino as a means of creating excitement, there is no better example than playing poker at Casino Royale. The scene lasts several minutes. And while there are some outrageous moments – Bond (Daniel Craig) gets poisoned, leaves the game, and returns after receiving the antidote – it's a tense drama.

Casinos put pressure on characters

Now you're not just going to base the plot of a Bond movie on the outcome of a game of poker, and Casino Royale won't do it when millions of dollars were at stake. But the poker scene puts the main characters, both heroes and villains, under pressure. This is where the tension comes in, especially when we see that first cracks in the unshakable villain, Le Chiffre (Mads Mikkelsen). Dramatic tension is also achieved by the fact that the main actors Craig and Mikkelsen speak very little for a few minutes. They play "eyes" and let the risk of the game build tension over their silence.

It is common knowledge that casinos don't really like what is portrayed on the silver screen, and one area where this is certainly true is the feeling of threat in the air, especially among unscrupulous casino bosses. This can be seen in various films where casinos are associated with gangster activities such as: B. Ocean & # 39; s 11 or The Cooler. In reality, casino owners like Donald Trump and Sheldon Adelson don't watch you play blackjack in a room full of security.

But in the films there is a simple way of adding tension to the portrayal of the vigilant Sauronesque Casino owner; A person for whom violence could be the answer if you win too much money. It doesn't happen in the real world, but it puts the characters in a state of danger in the eyes of the audience. For example, Rain Man has created the perception that card counting is illegal (it isn't and it's not that difficult) and you'd be kind of in trouble if you were too successful. Countless other films have run with the same idea.

Casinos are steeped in tradition

It is often the case that the casino goes back to old world ideals. Games like roulette and blackjack have a long tradition, but so do the other props – the dress, the drinks. Even the fact that casinos often allow smoking indoors seems like a throwback to a bygone era. Of course, much of modern casino game is now played online and high rollers could take theirs Chances on the Mega Moolah Progressive Slot (the biggest jackpot game in the world) online instead of hanging out at the baccarat tables. But the films sometimes get it right when it comes to portraying the casino as a place that doesn't have to abide by the rules of the modern world.

As a setting, the casino offers your characters the opportunity to do something while interacting. If you look at the opening casino scene in Dr. No look back where we were first introduced the immortal lineage of Sean Connery, "Bond. James Bond. "This is the first scene with Connery as James Bond, but we don't see his face for a little over a minute. We see his hands and the back of his head; we also see Bond win a few rounds in the game, Chemin." -de-Fer (an archaic version of Baccarat). At this minute the tension is also built up by the character Sylvia Trench (Eunice Grayson), who loses in the game and is increasingly unsettled by the man who wins against her – Bond.

Those 60 seconds on screen perfectly show you how the casino can be used as a prop for suspense and character building. We don't see Bond, but we can say he's cool, calm, and polite. On the contrary, Trench subtly shows signs of anger and distress. Without them having to say anything, we automatically know a lot about these characters and the direction they are going to go. The game allowed the director (Terence Young) to focus on something other than direct dialogue, but with enough clues for the audience to build a narrative in their minds. This is just one of many examples of why the casino is a perfect setting for creating suspense and developing characters in the film.


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