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Original Title:
Kidalida Michyeo

South Korea 2008

Romance, Drama

Ryoo Seung-jin

Jang Hee-jin
Danny Ahn
Kim San-ho
Yoon In-yung
Lee Ki-woo
Son Tae-yung
Jang Geun-suk
Han Yeo-reum
Woo Seung-min
Lee Yeong-jin
Seo Min-woo
Choi Jae-hwan
Kim Tae-hyeon

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Crazy Waiting

aka Crazy for Wait

aka The longest 24 months

Story: Four young Koreans must serve their two years in the army, as must all of their countrymen of the same age. On top of being separated from friends and family they must also trust in their girlfriends remaining faithful to them for the next 24 months. This proves to be less than easy for Eun-suk (Kim San-ho) and Jin-ah (Yoon In-yung). Eun-suk's best friend Ki-seong (Lee Ki-Woo) is supposed to keep on eye on Jin-ah, but ends up falling in love with her himself. Jin-ah's feelings also begin to change, even though she is still not quite sure of this herself. The physical therapist Hyo-jung (Son Tae-yung) is a few years older than her boyfriend Won-jae (Jang Geun-suk) and has never managed to continue a relationship beyond when her respective partner left for his army service. She can't hold a candle to the open sauciness of Bi-ang (Han Yeo-reum) however, who goes on search of a new boyfriend almost immediately and hereby dumps Hur-wook (Woo Seung-min) without his knowledge.
The last story is about the guitarist Min-cheol (Danny Ahn), who has fallen in love with the singer of his band. As soon as he enters the army though, he finds out about the feelings that keyboard player Bo-ram (Jang Hee-jin) has been harboring for him. But what will all of these relationships amount to in 2 year's time?

Review: "Crazy Waiting" picks up the rare theme of the two years every young Korean must spend away from home, serving his country in the military. They are torn from their normal life for two long years, which has been known to produce unusually teary scenes with friends and family. Not only will their visits home be restricted to a few scarce holidays, it also stands to fear that any romantic relationship will not survive this ultimate separation. So if this leads to the one or other romantic drama in real life, why not make a film about it? This may not be such a bad idea, but "Crazy Waiting" fails to convey any kind of message. Lightweight entertainment in the form of small episodes is all we are presented with. Even if the audience can rejoice in the fact that a few of the love stories do have a tangible and realistic feel to them, it still can not be overlooked that the great potential of the story remains untapped.

The biggest problem is that first-time director Ryoo Seung-jin tries to make us familiar with the characters in a very abrupt and hasty exposition at the very beginning of the film. Even worse than this is the fact that Ryoo keeps switching between the different stories and characters so that we can't even begin to identify with any of them. It even becomes difficult to follow the plot at all. Unfortunately, this seems to be the only coherent characteristic of the entire film. Only when the film reaches its end and the stories approach their respective final scenes do we feel emotionally involved. By that time, however, it's just too late. It would have been better for "Crazy Waiting" to illustrate its diverseness in longer segments, just as was shown with somewhat great success in "All for Love". The way in which the stories are presented also causes the characters to appear very shallow at times. Worst are the scenes with Bi-ang, as all characters are bland and forgettable here and the story itself doesn't seem to be going anywhere at all. The audience begins to question why these scenes weren't cut to make room for more serious storytelling amongst the other stories.

The story of Jin-ah, who ends up landing in a love triangle, shows similar weaknesses because it is completely predictable from square one. Merely the end is able to give us a start because it turns out to be the most realistic and mature of all four stories. Hyo-jung on the other hand, is an unpredictable character. She is older than her boyfriend and seems to have given up on him while dating around amongst men of her own age or at least one of them. A certain romance does not seem to make an appearance however, turning this into the only plot segment able to hold general interest. The highlight of the movie is the story built around Bo-ram, who tries to win the singer's boyfriend's heart. Jang Hee-jin is the only actress in this film by the way, that doesn't just manage to show a pretty face, but also is able to portray a truly authentic, probably because slightly insecure, character on screen. She is able to give the picture a decent protagonist, even if this was not really intended.

"Crazy Waiting" is missing in focus. It jumps aimlessly between characters, leading us towards a situation where the characters don't really mean anything to us at all. We also learn nothing about the life that the men are leading. They are undergoing training in the army and are certainly having a tough time, but this is precisely what we don't get to see, not once! It would have enriched the tragic element of the film to see the men crawling around in the mud while their girlfriends go hunting for other men. Some may say that the girl's unfaithfulness is plain enough, but I believe it would have given the film another dimension. Commendable on the other hand is the straightforward way in which the director brings this theme on screen. The basic tone of "Crazy Waiting" may be light and ditsy, but the end goes down a surprisingly mature path.

The film remains, however, quite frustrating. The main subject deserves so much more consideration and intensity than the romantic-drama of separate, incoherent episodes can offer. A part of the blame can be distributed among those responsible for the cutting - the switching back and forth between stories is confusing at best. Besides, most of the characters are not even close to being developed. In the end "Crazy Waiting" doesn't offer much, but it can still be considered entertainment. Besides, the outcome of the tales even out quite a few other things, even though we still begin to wonder how the film could actually reach its enormous potential. In conclusion we can state that "Crazy Waiting" is definitely a film for those looking for an alternative to all of the usual, cliché-ridden romantic dramas, for everyone else it may prove time-saving to search for one of the better films of this genre, albeit them proving to be very rare...

(Author: Manfred Selzer)

Translated by: R.S.
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