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Crazy Waiting
Crazy Waiting     Crazy Waiting

The boys and gals of Crazy Waiting.
Korean: 기다리다 미쳐
AKA:

The Longest 24 Months

Year: 2008  
Director: Ryu Seung-Jin  
Writer: Ryu Seung-Jin  
  Cast: Danny Ahn, Jang Hee-Jin, Son Tae-Yung, Jang Geun-Suk, Han Yeo-Reum, Woo Seung-Min, Kim San-ho, Yoon In-Yung
  The Skinny:

Crazy Waiting is a not-so-serious look at a serious issue: the mandatory military duty for South Korean men. The film misses the boat in saying something important, but it still works as an ensemble romance.

   
Review
by
Kevin Ma:

For some people, it may be unimaginable to spend two years away from home in the prime of young adulthood, training in the army. However, that's the reality for many young Korean men, who not only have to be away from their family and friends for the duration, but also must put their relationships in jeopardy as their girlfriends ponder their options. That situation is given the spotlight in Crazy Waiting (also known appropriately as The Longest 24 Months), an ensemble comedy-drama that looks at four of these couples during this pivotal time.

This subject is rarely given a serious focus in Korean films, and writer/director Ryu Seung Jin follows suit, keeping the tone of the film fairly lighthearted without going into farcical territory. Here, he explores four different relationships involving men in the same platoon. Hyo Jung (Son Tae-Yung) is six years older than her boyfriend Won Jae (Jang Geun-Suk), and her past relationships have never gotten past the "boyfriend goes off to army" stage. Meanwhile, Bi Ang (Han Yeo-Reum) housesits for her boyfriend Hur Wook (Woo Seung-Min) while he's off in the army, but she quickly finds another guy to fill both the physical and emotional void. In the most predictable story, Eun Suk (Kim San-Ho) and Jin Ah (Yoon In-Yung) are the typical lovey-dovey college couple that can't stand to be apart, but Eun Suk makes the mistake of asking his best friend Ki Sung to look after her diligently. The last plot is the most interesting one, involving guitarist Min Cheol (pop group member Danny Ahn), who is in love with his band's lead vocalist. However, he doesn't realize that the person who truly cares about him is actually keyboardist Boram (Jang Hee-Jin).

With four parallel plots moving at the same time, it's easy to get lost while watching Crazy Waiting. Director Ryu tries to establish the respective stories early on, but while the screenplay may be quite clear about the characters, he moves from one story to another at a pace that's too quick for the audience to follow. As a result, some will find the film difficult to be engaged during the first half of the film. Fortunately, the stories grow easier to follow as they hit their respective emotional climaxes. This is especially true for the story between Boram and Min Cheol because of an intriguing uncertainty in their relationship that adds romantic tension to the film. On the other hand, the love triangle between Eun Suk, Jin Ah, and Ki Sung grows too predictable, but is also the most realistic in the way Ryu handles the characters. The worst of the stories easily goes to the Hur Sook/Bi Ang storyline, as neither of the characters are likable enough for anyone to care about how their relationship turns out.

Those looking for a serious look at the young men of the Korean army and how the military conscription system really affects their loved ones may be looking in the wrong place: Crazy Waiting aims simply at depicting several romances under similar circumstances. There are almost no scenes of the men actually doing anything in their training, and the army barracks seems surprisingly more like a college dorm than the real thing. While some may prefer the lighthearted approach to the subject matter, Ryu misses the opportunity to say something about an issue that many people do face in reality. Instead, the finale of the film hinges on how the men manage to win their girls back. A socially conscious exposť on the system this is not.

Nevertheless, Crazy Waiting does manage to amuse when one can make sense of all the plots. Despite a packed ensemble cast, the film features likable performances from young Korean stars that actually make you care for the characters as individuals. Even though Ryu does not make the best use of his subject matter, the idea of using the conscription system as the background of lighthearted romances is a refreshing one. For a debut film to pack so many characters and situations into an economical 105 minutes is a challenge for any young director. The fact that Ryu does it and is still able to make the audience care for the characters means that Crazy Waiting at least qualifies as a successful youth-oriented romance. (Kevin Ma 2008)

   
Availability:

DVD (Korea)
Region 3 NTSC
Art Service
16x9 Anamorphic Widescreen
Korean Language Track
Removable English and Korean Subtitles
Various Extras

 

image courtesy of hancinema.net

   
   
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