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Roadwork to begin in Phillips/Smith counties -4/18/2014, 4:45 PM

Enjoying high school memories -4/16/2014, 10:27 AM

New ponies, warmer weather welcome in spring -4/15/2014, 8:47 AM

Coping strategies, including healthy eating, can reduce stress -4/13/2014, 9:46 AM

Winners chosen for Hays art exhibition -4/10/2014, 12:12 PM

Putting parent burn-out into perspective -4/10/2014, 11:08 AM

-4/8/2014, 8:35 AM

Many factors can cause stress in families, including divorce, death -4/4/2014, 9:23 AM

God brings life to dry bones -4/4/2014, 8:27 AM

Aging issues addressed in April Extension programs -4/3/2014, 9:51 AM

Quilting, eighth-grade activities make up Eicher family time -4/1/2014, 9:15 AM

Many stressors exist in several types of families in United States -3/31/2014, 10:11 AM

Power of vegetables and fruits -3/27/2014, 8:46 AM

A few more expensive pinot noirs, but ones well worth the cash -3/25/2014, 9:27 AM

Early start to morning leads to busy day for Eicher family -3/25/2014, 9:27 AM

Families need to find proper ways to deal with stress -3/23/2014, 9:20 AM

Birthday -3/19/2014, 9:19 AM

Trichomoniasis in cattle herds increasing -3/15/2014, 12:07 PM

Wines and consumer behavior -3/11/2014, 3:03 PM

Propane refill hits budget; hog butchering on tap -3/11/2014, 3:03 PM

Workplace, workforce sees changes through decades -3/10/2014, 9:56 AM

The Church is called to reflect Jesus outside of church -3/7/2014, 3:49 PM

Extension workshop features estate planning -3/6/2014, 3:49 PM

Enhance employee wellness with Walk Kansas -3/5/2014, 3:49 PM

Change your clocks, smoke alarm batteries -3/4/2014, 3:49 PM

Winter blues continue for Eicher family -3/4/2014, 1:53 PM

KDOT announces approved February bids -3/3/2014, 4:28 PM

K-23 pavement replacement project to begin -3/3/2014, 4:19 PM

Celtic guitarist Barlow performing at library -3/2/2014, 4:10 PM

Walk Kansas program offers health benefits -3/2/2014, 12:08 PM

Reflections on my 5 years in Hays -2/28/2014, 7:54 AM

Preserving the Family planning event March 14 -2/27/2014, 3:49 PM

Nex-Tech hosting Tech Edge Conference in June -2/27/2014, 4:28 PM

-2/27/2014, 7:54 AM

Student graphic designs featured in exhibit -2/26/2014, 3:49 PM

Remembering snow days -2/25/2014, 8:26 AM

Adjustment period can take time in step-families -2/24/2014, 11:21 AM

Birthdays -2/24/2014, 11:21 AM

Extension offers financial planning programs -2/20/2014, 9:56 AM

FHSU alum to host pitch fundraiser -2/20/2014, 9:56 AM

Program to focus on parenting teenagers -2/20/2014, 9:56 AM

Snow continues to pile up for Eichers as they hope for warmth -2/18/2014, 4:44 PM

Business Briefcase (Feb. 16, 2014) -2/16/2014, 2:53 PM

To strengthen relationships, celebrate success -2/14/2014, 10:04 AM

Sternberg Museum to offer summer camps -2/13/2014, 4:00 PM

Natoma girl promotes state program -2/13/2014, 4:00 PM

Hansen Museum displays students' artwork -2/13/2014, 4:00 PM

Hays Symphony showcases 3 young artists -2/13/2014, 4:00 PM

Hays Eagle Scout earns award -2/13/2014, 4:00 PM

'The Lego Movie' has all the right pieces -2/11/2014, 10:23 AM

Cold makes for long days for Eichers -2/4/2014, 4:23 PM

Divorce can have dramatic effect on children -2/3/2014, 10:13 AM

Whitetail agent has message -2/2/2014, 4:00 PM

Hays native wins award at bioscience symposium -1/30/2014, 11:26 AM

Be aware of earned income tax credit -1/30/2014, 11:26 AM

Learning to make the most of every day in 2014 -1/29/2014, 10:00 AM

'I, Frankenstein' a monstrously bad movie -1/28/2014, 10:15 AM

Snow still piling up for Eicher family; vacation time extended -1/28/2014, 8:54 AM

Adaptability, self-regulation key for divorcing parties -1/27/2014, 9:59 AM

God gives us gifts, wants us to share with others -1/24/2014, 11:16 AM

Celebration Church announces new series service -1/24/2014, 11:16 AM

'Jack Ryan' lays new foundation -1/21/2014, 10:01 AM

Eicher family rings in New Year in style -1/21/2014, 8:48 AM

Seeding to begin on I-70 in Sherman County -1/17/2014, 5:39 PM

The memories behind a bottle of wine -1/14/2014, 9:27 AM

Eichers gather as one big family for holiday -1/14/2014, 9:27 AM

Process of divorce can leave families in limbo at times -1/13/2014, 10:15 AM

KDA creates easy-to-follow guidelines for farmers, ranchers -1/8/2014, 3:34 PM

Eichers busy during holiday season -1/7/2014, 8:18 AM

Kansas online tax filing now available through KS WebFile -1/6/2014, 4:22 PM

Rep. Huelskamp announces military academy nominations -1/6/2014, 2:42 PM

Traveling Lincoln Exhibition coming to Hays library -1/6/2014, 2:24 PM

Whatever happened to Amelia Earhart? -1/6/2014, 2:24 PM

Divorce, remarriage can have drastic outcome on development -1/6/2014, 3:41 PM

Commerce Bank names O'Connor market president -1/3/2014, 2:02 PM

Fatalities on Kansas' roads hit all-time low in 2013 -1/3/2014, 10:15 AM

Dreams abound for a happy, peaceful new year in 2014 -1/1/2014, 12:45 PM

Kansas ends 2013 on target -12/31/2013, 3:02 PM

Remarriage, divorce can change family structure significantly -12/30/2013, 9:08 AM

Business Briefcase (Dec. 29, 2013) -12/29/2013, 1:56 PM

Reflections on all that made my Christmas merry -12/25/2013, 11:37 AM

'American Hustle,' 'Anchorman 2' worth seeing -12/24/2013, 9:10 AM

Instability in many forms can hamper family development -12/23/2013, 9:39 AM

Bridge replacement project to start on K-27 in Wallace County -12/23/2013, 8:30 PM

Business Briefcase (Dec. 22, 2013) -12/22/2013, 11:19 AM

Management minute -- Mentoring 101 -12/22/2013, 11:18 AM

Hibbett Sports prepares for new location -12/22/2013, 11:18 AM

Another year's FHSU graduates find 95-percent rate of success in jobs, advanced study -12/20/2013, 11:42 AM

Public record, Dec. 20, 2013 -12/20/2013, 10:42 AM

What the Bible says: Is it really OK to OMG? -12/20/2013, 10:05 AM

FUMC to host night service -12/20/2013, 10:04 AM

Nex-Tech Wireless hosts annual holiday toy drive -12/19/2013, 10:04 AM

Holiday traditions build strong families -12/19/2013, 10:04 AM

Public record, Dec. 18, 2013 -12/18/2013, 10:42 AM

'The Desolation of Smaug' shows improvement -12/17/2013, 11:28 AM

Business Briefcase (Dec. 15, 2013) -12/15/2013, 3:20 PM

Chamber schedules events -12/13/2013, 8:50 AM

Utility, bank establish training program -12/11/2013, 8:07 AM

Excerpts honoring America's veterans -12/11/2013, 8:46 AM

'12 Years a Slave' intimate, powerful -12/10/2013, 10:09 AM

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Child abduction portrayal 'arresting'

Published on -9/24/2013, 10:01 AM

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What's the difference, if any, between watching a movie about a child abductor and watching a news story about a child abductor? The obvious answers are one is true and one is not, and one is for informational purposes and one is for entertainment. What happens to that line when a movie is based on a true story or a news report is embellished for dramatic effect?

"Prisoners" is a compelling story about a disturbing and real issue. It's difficult to watch and is more than a little troubling. That said, the violence and the intensity all serve the story. The film isn't gruesome for gruesomeness' sake; nevertheless, it's not for the faint of heart.

"Prisoners" tells the story of two families whose young daughters are abducted and how far they will go to get them back. The highest praise I can offer is this: I wasn't positive how all of the pieces fit together until they fell into place. Most modern thrillers end one of two ways -- with a telegraphed ending that can be identified miles away or with a last minute reversal that feels like a cheat. "Prisoners" does neither -- it offers a truly engaging mystery that could have gone multiple directions, but once the final piece fell in place, it was a snug fit.

Hugh Jackman and Jake Gyllenhaal deliver commanding performances complex enough to both guide the narrative and add mystery to the story. Too often in these kind of movies, the spotlight falls entirely on the mystery or entirely on the shock value. "Prisoners" is arresting. It carries emotional weight. It feels real, which is appropriate for such an oxymoronically grounded serial killer/psychopath movie.

Now that fall is officially here, I feel confident in saying "Prisoners" is the first entry in what will hopefully be an amazing, and entertaining, "Oscar season."

5 of 6 stars

James Gerstner works at Fort Hays State University Foundation. james.gerstner@gmail.com

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