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Visually strong and featuring a potently feral performance from Brad Pitt, Kalifornia is a tonally uneven thriller marked by all-too-obvious themes. Read critic reviews

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Movie Info

Brian Kessler (David Duchovny) is a writer, and his girlfriend, Carrie Laughlin (Michelle Forbes), is a photographer. They're working on a book about serial killers, and planning a trip across the country to document the sites of famous serial murders. To cut costs, they set up a ride-share with strangers, Early Grayce (Brad Pitt) and his girlfriend, Adele Corners (Juliette Lewis). But what they don't know is that Early is a violent sociopath in the middle of his own serial killing spree.

Cast & Crew

Brad Pitt
Early Grayce
Juliette Lewis
Adele Corners
David Duchovny
Brian Kessler
Michelle Forbes
Carrie Laughlin
Sierra Pecheur
Mrs. Musgrave
Mars Callahan
Walter Livesy
Judson Vaughn
Parole Officer
David Rose
Eric
Lynn Kouf
Executive Producer
Jim Kouf
Executive Producer
Tim Metcalfe
Screenwriter
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Critic Reviews for Kalifornia

All Critics (32) | Top Critics (4) | Fresh (19) | Rotten (13)

Audience Reviews for Kalifornia

  • Oct 22, 2013
    Starting like a soft-core Red Shoe Diaries episode, the guitar score is less heart-throbbing and more chintzy. In a sociological study on murderous psychology, 'Kalifornia' delves headlong into sociopathic analysis (Duchovny asserts that serial killers can distinguish between right and wrong and they should receive the death penalty). These aspects of the film are intrinsically provocative. However, Duchovny's voiceover is a sleep tranquilizer like Harrison Ford's lukewarm narration in 'Blade Runner'. He waxes poetic about how serial killers "dream they can fly" and it sounds irredeemably pretentious. Pitt is superficial unkemptness as the hayseed Early and he is such a dimwit that he can hardly be classified as a threat (Early romanticizes California with claims that there "ain't no speed limits and the first month is rent free."). Anything spouted by Juliette Lewis is a juvenile stereotype of Southern yokels (she doesn't fathom the definition of the word "karma") and she is intolerable in the role. Early's parole officer with the hook appendage is extremely cartoonish. The cross-cutting of the two stories is awfully uneven since we are more enthralled with Early's impecunious trailer lifestyle than Brian's naïve obsessions. Truthfully, 'Kalifornia' is a vapid exercise in David Fincher style, but its declarations about the ill-bred origins of serial killers are shallow.
    Cory T Super Reviewer
  • Nov 29, 2011
    It starts out slow and ends rather predictably, but Kalifornia is still a great thriller with a good-enough message. I was actually wanting to see what happened next. The characters are well-acted by their actors (surprisingly, I liked David Duchovny) and the story really gets you involved. My favorite quote from the movie, "Hey, if you switched two letters in your name it'd spell, um... brain!" One thing I don't get though is how it was originally rated NC-17. Was it really that violent? Or did I miss something? I mean, on account of what they release in theaters nowadays, and considering the fact that most of that stuff is rated R, I can't imagine that this was rated NC-17.
    Stephen E Super Reviewer
  • Aug 17, 2011
    You know,for a movie about redneck serial killer on a road trip to California, this movie, for the most part, is pretty uninteresting. There's nothing bad about this movie in any way, but it just didn't engage me in any way until Brian and Carrie find out that Early is a killer, then the movie gets great. The problem is, this was more than halfway through the movie and it's really a shame. But the movie's good, the acting is very strong. Particularly Brad Pitt, he was tremendous. You know, being someone who didn't start to enjoy Brad Pitt's work until his stuff this past decade, I must have to admit that this guy probably always knew how to act. But, at the time, he probably didn't get much of a chance to show this because of his looks and he was cast in movies where his looks were really the most important thing. So, naturally, this created a backlash among some people. Sort of like how Leonardo DiCaprio was fucking HATED after Titanic came out, even though, at the time (and still is for that matter), a tremendous actor. But since Brad's looks have now started to fade as he approaches 50, he's had to rely SOLELY on his acting talent...and you know what??? He's fucking great. He won't win any important awards for his acting, but he's better than people give him credit for. So the point is, Brad is great here and he pretty much carries the movie with his performance. It's kind of a shame that, unfortunately, the movie still isn't that interesting in spite of his performance. But I don't blame Brad for that, I blame whoever wrote the movie for not writing a more interesting movie. So, overall, the movie is good at best. It should've been better, but it wasn't
    Jesse O Super Reviewer
  • Aug 15, 2011
    It starts out slow and ends rather predictably, but Kalifornia is still a great thriller with a good-enough message. I was actually wanting to see what happened next. The characters are well-acted by their actors (surprisingly, I liked David Duchovny) and the story really gets you involved. My favorite quote from the movie, "Hey, if you switched two letters in your name it'd spell, um... brain!" One thing I don't get though is how it was originally rated NC-17. Was it really that violent? Or did I miss something? I mean, on account of what they release in theaters nowadays, and considering the fact that most of that stuff is rated R, I can't imagine that this was rated NC-17.
    Stephen E Super Reviewer

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