Robbie by name, robbin’ by nature….
Robbie Hood is a charismatic, streetwise Indigenous kid who knows how to survive in the Alice. And he and his mates are a sheer joy to watch.
Although his mother passed away on Christmas Day, 14 year old Robbie (Pedrea Jackson) is left to fend for himself with his d***head white fella dad (Andy Golledge), his elderly grandmother (Audrey Martin) and best mates, the gangly perpeutally-hungry 16 year old Johnny (Levi Thomas) and tough-nut 13 year old ‘Blue’ (Jordan Johnson).
Unsupervised on the hot asphalt of the Alice, these three loiter from misadventure to misadventure, struggling to scrape enough cash together for a swim in the local pool, nicking BMX bikes or sneaking into a night at the local speedway.
Robbie also has his eye on local teenager Mim (Tiara Doolan), “The most beautiful coconut I’ve ever seen…. white on the inside, tough and black on the outside,” who happens to be the daughter of the local well-meaning copper Shane (Dan Falzon).
Bending the rules is ok when you have the heart of gold such as Robbie’s. Besides, the adults are almost universally inept anyway, including the earnest foster mother who makes Robbie mow dirt with a lawnmower, because he needs chores.
At the centre of this 6 x 10 min series is a director with a gifted eye in Dylan River (who co-wrote with Kodie Bedford), and a kid who underplays his performance with natural ease, in Pedrea Jackson. Together they bring out genuine humour and warmth that is uniquely Australian. The cinematography and a soundtrack with bluegrass / country help create a laid-back, magical story. If this were a feature, it would be charming arthouse audiences everywhere.
I binged all 6 episodes, smiling from beginning to end -whether at small moments like jumping on shadows to avoid the heat of the road, or at Robbie’s cheek in trying to order XXL condoms just to impress Mim.
Robbie Hood is now screening at SBS on Demand and airs all 6 episodes 9:35pm Tuesday at SBS VICELAND.