Proximity can affect our perception. For example, being next to an exceptionally attractive person can make you appear less attractive by comparison. Just ask my friends.

Proximity can affect our perception. For example, being next to an exceptionally attractive person can make you appear less attractive by comparison. Just ask my friends.

Likewise, I'm sure the very solid Australian crime drama "Animal Kingdom" would rank higher on my list if I hadn't just seen the slightly superior "The Town" a day earlier.

After his mother's death from a drug overdose, Josh (James Frecheville) moves in with his grandmother (Jacki Weaver) and uncles. Their family business is not on the up-and-up.

The de facto leader of the family is Uncle Pope (Ben Mendelsohn), somewhat quiet and considerably sociopathic. As confrontations with the police turn violent, the meek Josh finds himself more deeply embroiled.

"Kingdom" is a solid first effort from writer-director David Michod. It runs in the vein of "Goodfellas" or the recent French import "A Prophet."

The mumbly Josh feels a bit too out of place, though he's a more sympathetic character than these movies often have.

But the sweetly wicked matriarch played to perfection by Weaver and the boiling terror of Mendelsohn's Uncle Pope make it definitely worth your while. Especially if you've already seen "The Town."