Kalifornia (1993)




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

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With writer Brian Kessler's (David Duchovny) contractual deadline for a book on serial killing fast approaching, he and girlfriend Carrie Laughlin (Michelle Forbes) decide to embark on a cross-country tour of famous murder sites for inspiration. When the couple advertises for fellow travelers to help absorb expenses, the only response comes from greasy trailer park denizen Early Grayce (Brad Pitt) and his girlfriend Adele Corners (Juliette Lewis). Only too late do Brian and Carrie realize just how close to serial murderers they're about to get.
Action & Adventure , Drama , Mystery & Suspense
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:
PolyGram Video

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Brad Pitt
as Early Grayce
Juliette Lewis
as Adele Corners
David Duchovny
as Brian Kessler
Michelle Forbes
as Carrie Laughlin
Sierra Pecheur
as Mrs. Musgrave
Mars Callahan
as Walter Livesy
Judson Vaughn
as Parole Officer
David Rose
as Eric
David Milford
as Driver
Marisa Raper
as Little Girl
Catherine Larson
as Teenage Girl
Bill Crabbe
as Middle-Aged Farmer
Brett Rice
as Police Officer
Sarah Sullivan
as Bar Waitress
Lois Hall
as Mrs. Musgrave
Loanne Bishop
as Female Officer
Ron Kuhlman
as Male Officer
J. Michael McDougal
as John Diebold
Mary Ann Hagen
as Waitress
John Dullaghan
as Mr. Musgrave
Eric Stenson
as Young Cracker
Mary Ann Hagan
as Waitress
Patricia Hunte
as Newscaster
Jerry White
as Gas Station Attendant
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Critic Reviews for Kalifornia

All Critics (24) | Top Critics (3)

Brad Pitt's performance is crucial, and he rips into the character with a frightening sense of unhinged egomania, violently subverting the Redford-lite pretty-boy image with which so many wanted to associate him

Full Review… | August 11, 2010
Q Network Film Desk

It's good-looking but unsubstantial.

Full Review… | July 13, 2009
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

The movie begins extremely well before escalating into the inevitable Straw Dogs confrontation, when the sensitive-intellectual man discovers, just like Dustin Hoffman, that when push comes to shove, we're all brutes and animals.

Full Review… | December 18, 2006

An Absolutely riveting movie...Pitt is outstanding

May 11, 2005

A gritty, haunting voyeur's peek into the human condition.

October 3, 2004
Tyler Morning Telegraph (Texas)

Visually stylish, thematically creepy.

June 11, 2004
Shadows on the Wall

Audience Reviews for Kalifornia



Super Reviewer


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 Taylor
Cory Taylor

Super Reviewer


Very few people would dare to question Brad Pitt's versatility today. That was different in the early 90s, when he was still underestimated as just another pretty face. Undeservedly so, as this early work in his oeuvre shows. He has hardly ever been as menacing, unpredictable and merciless as in this thriller about an author taking a road trip to famous murder sites and sharing gas costs with a white trash couple. As brilliant as Pitt is, he is even outshined by Juliette Lewis as dumb but sweet bimbo. As the trip turns more and more into a nightmare for the yuppie couple, the violence is ruthless, realistic and ugly, as in real life. While our protagonist ("Mulder" David Duchovny) is looking for an explanation for the mindset of serial killers, the film has no answers to the questions of the their motifs. Which just makes it even more unpleasant and important. Well done.

Jens S.
Jens S.

Super Reviewer

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