Register  |   Log In  |  
Sign up to our weekly newsletter    
Search   
Empire Magazine and iPad
Follow Me on Pinterest YouTube Tumblr
Empire
Trending On Empire
Gal Gadot's Wonder Woman Revealed
The Inside Story Of Sideshow Collectibles
Guardians Of The Galaxy Review
Nick Frost:
My Movie Life

The World's End star's pick of the flicks
Subscribe: 6 Issues For £15!
Subscribe today and save 37% off the cover price!
Reviews
STAR RATINGS EXPLAINED
Unmissable 5 Stars
Excellent 4 Stars
Good 3 Stars
Poor 2 Stars
Tragic 1 Star

FILM DETAILS
Certificate
18
Cast
Brad Pitt
Juliette Lewis
David Duchovny
Michelle Forbes.
Directors
Dominic Sena.
Screenwriters
Running Time
118 minutes

LATEST FILM REVIEWS
All This Mayhem
3 Star Empire Rating
Guardians Of The Galaxy
4 Star Empire Rating
A Promise
1 Star Empire Rating
A Night At The Cinema In 1914
4 Star Empire Rating
Hide Your Smiling Faces
4 Star Empire Rating



5 STAR REVIEWS
Two Days, One Night
5 Star Empire Rating
Some Like It Hot
5 Star Empire Rating
A Hard Day's Night
5 Star Empire Rating
Boyhood
5 Star Empire Rating
Rebel Without A Cause
5 Star Empire Rating

Kalifornia
A serial-killer movie from the time you couldn't move for them


submit to reddit


Plot
Journalist Brian and his photographer girlfriend Carrie are driving from Tennessee to California to research a book about serial killers. To cut the costs they advertise for travelling companions, whom they find in white trash couple Early and Adele, who offer an insight into the minds of serial killers that is a little too close for comfort for Brian and Carrie.


Review
The American obsession with serial killers and all they stand for — perverse individualism, suicidal nihilism, the general cult of celebrity weirdness — is a good subject for a hard, critical, intelligent movie. Unfortunately, Kalifornia isn't it. Structured as a picaresque road movie, it borrows heavily from Terrence Malick's Badlands, but whereas the crazy couple in that movie were placed as the victims of the prevailing cultural myths (of romantic abjection and psychotic heroism), the crazy couple here are monsters, carnival turns, actorly impersonations.

Pitt and Lewis are barely credible as Early and Adele, the white trash holidaymakers from hell, and so it is left to Duchovny and Forbes to carry the movie as their sponsors-turned-prisoners, Brian and Carrie (get the funky De Palma reference?). The movie's premise is interesting enough. Brian is a broken-down writer planning to drive from Tennessee to California to research a coffee-table book about serial killers; Carrie decides to accompany him as photographer. To reduce the cost of the trip, they advertise for travelling companions and end up with Early and Adele, and it is from the point that the two couples meet that the movie loses its grip. The ironies click into place just a little too neatly as Brian and Carrie come to experience at first hand the terrors they wanted to report upon, while the fantasy romance between Early and Adele begins to disintegrate under the pressure of class friction.

Former pop promo director Sena knows how to give a glossy sheen to the blank surfaces and rough edges of roadside America, but the results look cheap and shoddy rather than seductively challenging. The main problem is that, unlike Brian and Carrie, Early and Adele are never granted any degree of self-consciousness, and are merely grotesque cyphers, who, in a final piece of symbolic manipulation, drift towards a showdown in a nuclear test zone. Blame it on the Bomb? What kind of message is that?.


Verdict
While the idea behind the film is an interesting one, the characters are too shallow and the plot too neat to be truly engaging, while the overall look of the film is distinctly lacking.


Reviewed by Steve Beard

Write Your Review
To write your review please login or register.

Your Reviews

Average user rating for Kalifornia
Empire Star Rating

The best film of 1992 and one of the best films of the 90's.

Kalifornia is an explosive, crude masterful film. Great Movie. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by nc_jj at 02:58, 12 March 2008 | Report This Post


SPECIAL FEATURE
The 301 Greatest Movies Of All Time EMPIRE READERS' POLL: THE 301 GREATEST MOVIES OF ALL TIME
You turned out in your hundreds and thousands, and here are the results... Browse the full list


CURRENT HIGHLIGHTS
Empire's The Hobbit: The Battle Of The Five Armies Covers Are Here
Bard The Bowman or Smaug The Magnificent?

A Pocket Guide To Game Of Thrones’ New Cast Members
Know your Doran Martell from your Nym Sand

Directors Special: Peter Hyams Goes Film-By-Film
The veteran director on Timecop, Outland, 2010, Enemies Closer and more

Explore The Massive Avengers: Age Of Ultron Comic-Con Banner
Use our interactive gadget to zoom in on Hulk, Iron Man, The Vision and co. in action

The 10 Biggest Stories Of Comic-Con 2014
The shocks to emerge from this year's geek-fest. Avengers! Max! Mann!

Models Inc.: The Inside Story Of Sideshow Collectibles
How the likes of Batman, Superman and Luke Skywalker become collectible figures

The Empire Podcast #121: Brett Ratner Talks Hercules On This Week's Show
Plus The Purge: Anarchy producer Jason Blum pops in to talk horror

Subscribe to Empire magazine
Get The 301 Greatest Movies Of All Time Subscribers' Cover

Subscribe today and get the cover and 3 issues for only £10!

Subscribe today

Subscribe to Empire iPad edition
Get The Empire iPad Edition Today

Subscribe and save maney on annual digital subscription

Subscribe today
Buy single issues

Get 6 issues of Empire for just £15!
Get the world's greatest movie magazine delivered straight to your door! Subscribe today!
Empire's Film Studies 101 Series
Everything you ever wanted to know about filmmaking but were afraid to ask...
The Empire iPad Edition
With exclusive extras, interactive features, trailers and much more! Download now
Home  |  News  |  Blogs  |  Reviews  |  Future Films  |  Features  |  Interviews  |  Images  |  Competitions  |  Forum  |  iPad  |  Podcast  |  Magazine Contact Us  |  Empire FAQ  |  Subscribe To Empire  |  Register
© Bauer Consumer Media Ltd  |  Legal Info  |  Privacy Policy  |  Bauer Entertainment Network
Bauer Consumer Media Ltd (company number 01176085 and registered address 1 Lincoln Court, Lincoln Road, Peterborough, England PE1 2RF)