Studio: Shout! Factory

Mar 04, 2019 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share

Author Brian (David Duchovny) and his girlfriend, photographer Carrie (Michelle Forbes), embark on a morbid, cross-country road trip to research a book about some of the nation’s most notorious murders. Strapped for cash and in need of help paying to fuel their gas-guzzling Lincoln convertible, they post an ad looking for tag-alongs to split the cost of a ride to California. The call is answered by a young couple by the names of Early and Adele (Brad Pitt and Juliette Lewis). Brian and Carrie assume they’re harmless, poor white trash, but what they don’t know is that Early had murdered their landlord just an hour before they met. Brian quickly comes to like the loutish Early until his violent nature eventually comes to light.

Released in 1993, Kalifornia is a movie that seems to have been forgotten in the passage of time – likely overshadowed by 1994’s more memorable and controversial Natural Born Killers, also about a pair of murderous lovers (and also starring Juliette Lewis.) While the first half of the film is a slow-moving slog – the audience already knows the truth about Early, and has to wait for the dimwitted Brian to catch up – it erupts into a tense thriller once the killer gives up his chummy charade and takes his fellow passengers as hostages. Lewis is especially good as his developmentally-stunted, blindly dedicated young lover. Pitt perhaps packs too many acting tics into his character, from a distracting snort to his performance trademark of jabbering with a foreign object hanging out of his mouth. Kalifornia’s big payoff is ultimately worth it if you’re willing to stick through the first painfully slow hour and lots of unnecessary voiceover to get there.

Shout! Select’s new Blu-ray edition includes the theatrical and unrated version on two discs, as well as a vintage featurette and interviews, and an all-new Q&A with director Dominic Sena, who’d later go on to make Gone in 60 Seconds and Swordfish.



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