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Pretentious graduate student Brian (David Duchovny) and his cold, arty girlfriend (Michelle Forbes) drive cross-country to California, stopping at famous murder sites with the idea of writing a book about serial killers. Brian struggles with his subject matter, though, because he only understands killers in sociological terms. To split the cost of the drive, Brian offers a ride share to Early (Brad Pitt) and Adele (Juliette Lewis). As luck would have it, Early happens to be a sociopath bent on destruction, and Brian learns more about the mind of a killer than he bargained for. Kalifornia is as empty and pretentious as a psychological horror film can get. Director Dominic Sena's visual style is a sterile, glossy homage to bad music videos, and Stephen Levy's script begs for profundity but settles for clinical sex and violence. You'd never guess from watching this that spineless Duchovny would turn into a major star just a year or two after Kalifornia's release. His soft approach only compounds his character's ineffectiveness. The life of Kalifornia is Pitt and Lewis. Given the opportunity to play gloriously hopeless white trash, they chew the scenery with flair, charm, wit, and gusto. It's Pitt's best performance ever -- finally an accent he can handle! -- and further proof that during a brief period in the early '90s Lewis was the best actress in Hollywood. For all its muddled attempts to mean anything, Kalifornia is nothing more than a showcase for two great, if perhaps limited, talents. This disc offers both the theatrically released R-rated version, and the unrated cut, with one extra minute of sex and gore! Presented in 2.35:1 widescreen and 2.0 Dolby. Also with behind-the-scene footage and interviews with Pitt and Sena.
—Gregory P. Dorr

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