No. Don't worry, pal. The spell-checker on my laptop hasn't suddenly broken down. This film incorrectly spelled 'California' on purpose, just to prove that it's somehow hip like those guys and girls down in Düsseldorf. Yeah. You know. Just like the Director: Dominic Sena; plus the Actors: Brad Pitt, Juliette Lewis, David Duchovny, and Michelle Forbes. Especially in 1993, and for about 117 minutes. 


Once upon a time there were two diametrically opposed couple’s living somewhere in America. Lets call them 'Couple A' and 'Couple B' for the moment, shall we?

Now 'Couple A' were a pair of Okies, with no money, no future, and just struggling to stay alive. Whereas 'Couple B' were a very liberal duo, with artistic leanings, opened-mined ways, and a way of life that was giving them no satisfaction whatsoever.

So one day, 'Couple B' decided to plan a road trip to California. Just so they could research some murder sites along the way, and use this information to put into a novel they were both devising. By chance of fate, 'Couple A' wanted to get out of town too. And so  -- to cut a long story short -- 'Couple A' and 'Couple B' both met. Introducing themselves in the process.

Alright. Have you got all of that, pal? Good. What I want you to know next is that 'Couple B' are Brian Kessler and Carrie Laughlin (David Duchovny and Michelle Forbes): who are a couple of creative types. Whilst 'Couple A' are Early Grayce and Adele Corners (Brad Pitt and Juliette Lewis): who are a couple of murdering b*stards.

Wait a minute! Let me rephrase that last part again. Adele isn't a killer. Hell no. She's too too cute for that. But Early is. And this wanted felon has killed his landlord just prior to this trip, and then continues to steal and murder while he rides along with the rest of them, just to pay for his share of this excursion.

No. Don't fret. Carrie and Brian do not know what's going on behind their back. Not until Carrie starts to suspect something is amiss with Early. Just by the way that he looks at her, mistreats his girlfriend, Adele, or by the way her own partner, Brian, seems to be influenced by his devilish ways.

Yeah. No kidding. And that is why she eventually vocalizes her distrust to Brian. Resulting in her giving him an ultimatum of sorts...

"It’s either Early me, Brian" she says. Or words to that effect.

Yet again, I suppose that is why what next transpires all goes downhill when a answer blows up in everyone's face. As people get scared - viewpoints are violently aired - California is suddenly snared - and at the end of the day death is something that is tragically-tragically shared.

Brilliant! That all I want to say about this film. OK. No. That isn't all I want to say. Or otherwise this review would end here and now. And you wouldn't want that, would you?

Anyway, in my most humble opinion, folks, I have to categorically state for the record that  'Kalifornia' is a brilliant slice of cinema from start to finish. As it just takes us -- the audience -- on a hell bent roller-coaster ride of a journey that's entertaining, provocative, emotional, and analyses quite a few subjects in the process.

Michelle Forbes in Kalifornia

Juliette Lewis in Kalifornia
Now what are these subjects I speak of?' I hear you cry. Why, I am glad you asked, dear reader. You see, conceptually speaking of course, this film initially attempts to psychoanalyze how writers -- especially those in the crime genre -- try to feel their way through a noted novelization they are creating.

Well, lets face it. Shouldn't someone who is trying to write about a particular subject matter, know about this particular subject matter from first hand experience, rather than hearsay and conjecture? It does make a lot of sense if you think about it.

Then again, does this notion also imply that some of the more populist crime authors out there are a bunch of hypocrites? Don’t they have to have killed first, to really understand the true motives behind a killer?

Alright. I suppose that you could easily transpose this hypothesis on many other different areas of interest as well. Like history, politics, or maths for instance (OK. So maybe not maths). Though it is something to dwell on, isn't it? Just like how this is film make's you dwell on how brilliant it is the more you watch it.

Brad and Juliette in Kalifornia

David Duchovny in Kalifornia
Yeah. Straight up. And in a roundabout way this point brings me quite nicely onto the next subject I want to pontificate on, folks. Plus how they interact within this flick.

Yep. That's correct. I'm referring to the cast of course. I would just like to add that all of them literally inhabit their respective roles, and do not stray any from their characters in any way shape or form. David plays the clever yet naive chap to a tea. Brad plays the Hillbilly from hell like a madman. And I want to impregnate both Juliette and Michelle for completely positive reasons.

Furthermore, there is also another character within this film that you don't see at all. No. Don't worry. I haven't run out of my medication yet. That character is called suspense, dear reader. You know from the very start of this film a fateful turn is going to happen sooner or later. As it just hangs there -- suspended within the air -- until that moment breaks. And then, when it eventually does occur, BANG! Suspense turns into dread! And you're stuck within your seats (or maybe sofa) to what will happen next.

And what does happen next? A resolution of sorts. But no resolution to the overall hypothesis. Oh no. And in my eyes that makes for some great film-making. No. Brilliant film-making.

Kalifornia starring Brad Pitt, Juliette Lewis, David Duchovny, and Michelle Forbes

Brad Pitt in Kalifornia
Hey! Before I waffle on too much, here, check out some of these filmic facts. (1) 'Gramercy Pictures' first release this $8.5 million dollar production on the 3rd of September, 1993, and made back $2.3 million dollars at the box office. (2) The term 'Okies' -- which was used in this film -- is a 'hillbilly reference' that originally comes from Brads hometown of Oklahoma. (3) Michelle Forbes character was modeled after  the 'History of Sex' photographer, Andres Serrano. (4) Loosely translated, this project was given the subtitle 'A Trip To Hell' in Brazil; 'Death Is Not Travelling Alone' in Hungary; and 'The Passenger In The Back Seat' in Norway. (5) David has an allergic reaction to metal, preventing him from wearing his wedding ring on occasion [excuse]. (6) To make it as an actress, Michelle moved from Oklahoma [where Brad comes from] to New York [where Juliette comes from] at the tender age of 16. (7) By his own accord, Brad had his tooth specially chipped by a dentist for his role in this flick. (8) All of the 'murder sites' seen in this thriller are named after the four principal actors: Mount Juliet - Forbes - Davidson Mine - and Bradbury Textile Warehouse. (9) Comic book writer, Chuck Dixon, plus the artist, Duncan Fegredo, were going to adapt this movie into a four color funny. Yet due to business reasons, his project was pulled before it was even half completed. (10) This is a classic clip...

All in all I'd say that 'Kalifornia' a is marvelous movie. And it's a must see for anyone who likes watching something more than just another road movie, something edgier than a serial killer-flick, and something more poignant than a bottle of beer and a shack in the back.

Yiiieeee-Hawwwww! Nuff said.


KALIFORNIA KALIFORNIA Reviewed by David Andrews on January 07, 2014 Rating: 5
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