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Kansas Lottery sales set new record in FY2014 -7/18/2014, 3:58 PM

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ELL strategies workshop to equip area teachers for diverse classrooms -7/17/2014, 8:47 AM

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Words of 'wit and wisdom' from days gone by -7/16/2014, 2:26 PM

Public record (July 14, 2014) -7/15/2014, 10:27 AM

'Dawn of the Planet of the Apes' shines -7/15/2014, 8:32 AM

Different strategies can help victims deal with violence -7/14/2014, 9:56 AM

Public record (July 9, 2014) -7/8/2014, 10:28 AM

'Tammy' is every kind of bad -7/8/2014, 7:57 AM

Smaller number of men victims of domestic violence -7/7/2014, 8:44 AM

Hays After 5 to celebrate 38 years -7/4/2014, 9:37 AM

Hope for today: Remember to mind your manners -7/4/2014, 9:28 AM

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Honey, don't forget the (healthy) vacation snacks -7/3/2014, 9:28 AM

'Transformers: Age of Extinction' arrives with a soulless, explosion-packed dud for the viewer's eye -7/1/2014, 1:25 PM

Fourth of July fireworks safety tips -6/29/2014, 2:19 PM

FHSU alumnus and chapter of year recognized for service -6/29/2014, 2:19 PM

Animal health considerations for cows fed in confinement -6/29/2014, 4:03 PM

Business Briefcase (June 29, 2014) -6/29/2014, 4:03 PM

Summer interns participate in community service day -6/29/2014, 4:03 PM

Creep feeding or early weaning when forage is limited -6/22/2014, 1:58 PM

Galaxy, Kansas Aviation win top biz honors -6/22/2014, 1:58 PM

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Wheatland center receives award -6/15/2014, 2:28 PM

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Dave says: Take the Roth -6/10/2014, 10:45 AM

Pregnancy testing cow herd pays off in the long run -6/8/2014, 2:21 PM

Summer events scheduled at the Hays Recreation Center -6/1/2014, 11:14 AM

Overbey heading home to eastern Kansas -5/25/2014, 10:43 AM

Don't ignore those honey-locust trees in pastures -5/25/2014, 10:43 AM

Elementary school movie reviews -5/20/2014, 8:47 AM

When to castrate calves could affect weight later on -5/18/2014, 1:43 PM

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News from North Central Kansas Technical College -5/11/2014, 4:04 PM

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Heaven is for real -5/9/2014, 9:59 AM

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Barton College offers summer outreach programs -5/4/2014, 2:23 PM

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La Crosse woman completes beef training -5/4/2014, 2:41 PM

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Monahan takes Franciscan vows -5/2/2014, 8:39 AM

D of I recognizes long-time members -5/2/2014, 8:39 AM

Agencies collaborate to explore Medicare basics -5/1/2014, 9:26 AM

Birthdays -5/1/2014, 9:26 AM

One good rain won't save drought-stricken farmers -4/27/2014, 3:04 PM

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'Transcendence' fails to connect elements -4/22/2014, 4:39 PM

Spring gallery walk schedule -4/21/2014, 4:37 PM

Parents can teach children skills for coping with stress -4/21/2014, 4:38 PM

Law enforcement works to further decrease fatalities -4/20/2014, 5:48 PM

Public record, April 18, 2014 -4/18/2014, 4:39 PM

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

Public record, April 17, 2014 -4/17/2014, 4:39 PM

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

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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

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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

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

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

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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

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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

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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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