A long, violent, degrading journey across America in search of locations where mass murders were committed by serial killers, Kalifornia is filled with quality performances and a tension-building script. It is a powerful, dramatic film withe a script that deserves respect, but is not enjoyable.
Brian Kessier (David Duchovny), in order to research his book on serial killers, convinces his girl friend, Carrie Longhlin (Michelle Forbes), who specializes in photography of provocative sexual situations, to take the pictures for his book as they cross the country. To help with expenses they take on Early Grayce (Brad Pitt, A River Runs Through It) and his young, simple girlfriend Adele Corners (Juliette Lewis, Cape Fear).
Carrie is immediately suspicious of Early, but Brian is fascinated with Early's free spirt and spontaneous life style. Early's last act before leaving for the trip is to murder his landlord, giving a hint of what is to come.
All four performances are very convincing, particularly Pitt who becomes; more and more frightful and dangerous as the journey goes on. Lewis is very real as a simple young woman who refuses to see the serious danger which is just below the surface of her boyfriend. The problem for Lewis is potential typecasting, In Cape Fear she played a simple mind, as she does here, leading one to wonder if she is a fine actress or just simple. Her skill should be applied in another direction soon.
Not a nice, quiet film for a Saturday evening, but one which brings tension and strong dramatic performances to the screen.