Kalifornia (1993)

DailyView: Day 186, Movie 268

This is the second movie that I watched thanks to the Barbarian-Paul Oyama Movie trivia Schmoedown match. This was Oyama’s 5-point question that he did not know. I have always been intrigued by serial killers and I love David Duchovny, so Kalifornia seemed like a perfect film to watch during the DailyView, here on the last day of October.

Brian Kessler (David Duchovny), a journalist researching serial killers for a book he wanted to write, and his photographer girlfriend Carrie (Michelle Forbes) started on a road trip to investigate famous scenes of murder on their way to California. In order to cut down on the cost of gas, they were going to have another person who wanted to head to California ride with them to share costs.

Unfortunately for them, the pair they brought with them were Early Grayce (Brad Pitt), a paroled criminal, and his naïve girlfriend Adele (Juliette Lewis). Early turned out to be more violent than Brian thought and he started to show it as they travelled across country.

The interactions between the four main characters is the strength of the film. The story is simple because the film is truly character driven. The performances are excellent. Brad Pitt is completely believable as a psychotic killer going out of the way to do what he wants to do. His relationship with Adele is both frightening and sad at the same time. Adele is so full of naivety and cannot see (or chooses not to see) the truth behind Early.

It was fascinating as well to see the charisma of Early as Brian started to bond with him and become a little like him. Before he understood how horrible Early actually was, Brian was willing to follow Early and listen to everything he said. Carrie picked up the vibe from Early earlier than any of the other characters.

The final section of the film is tense and anxiety filling. The performances are excellent and the character development is spot on. It is much better of a film than I thought it was going to be.

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