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During WWII a youth deserts his country's army after a combat experience, but not before wounding his commanding officer with a knife in order to escape. The young man, now very emotionally distraught, dresses in women's clothes and eventually joins a passing gypsy caravan, who think him a young girl... as well as a kind of seer, or 'rawney'. In time, however, he regains some composure and becomes attracted to one of the gypsy girls, which only leads to problems within the gypsy band, especially when the wounded commanding officer finds him Written by
A shell-shocked deserter from an unmanned army fighting an unclear war in an unidentified country goes crazy, and wearing a bright red dress (and some badly applied make-up) becomes a 'rawney', or a witch, in a roving company of counter-culture gypsies. Raggedy is, unfortunately, the key word here. The film was (presumably) meant to be a simple anti-war fable, but it tells a poor story poorly, and there's only one person to blame: Bob Hoskins, who besides making his debut as a director also conceived the idea, co-wrote the unfocused screenplay, and gave himself a starring role. As an actor Hoskins has always been a dedicated professional, but as a director it might be diplomatic to say he needs more practice. The script tries hard to set a timeless, fairy tale mood, but the anachronistic combination of mid-20th century war machinery, medieval superstitions, and New Age hippy philosophy doesn't mix well with all the Cockney dialect and Middle European settings (actually Czechoslovakia). The film meanders along without any clear purpose before coming to an abrupt end, leaving the door open for a sequel that will likely never be made.
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