'Finders Keepers': Film Review

Finder's Keepers
Courtesy of Sundance International Film Festival
Truth is stranger than fiction in deadpan doc about a severed leg as roadside attraction

Hilarious documentary on bizarre dispute over one man's amputated leg.

Truth is stranger than fiction by a country mile in this down-home loony amusement, a cockeyed doc about a man who fights to recover his mummified leg from a guy who bought it at a storage-unit auction and won’t depart with the limb.

Playing to delirious laughter at its world premiere at Sundance, Finders Keepers charts out a screwy insight into humanity that is usually only captured in the minds of twisted cartoonists.

It’s not likely that you’d find anyone who won’t part with the severed foot of a stranger, but that’s the case here as bargain-hungry Shannon Whisnant won’t give up the leg he got at an auction. The appendage was stashed in a grill by a man, John Wood, who had lost his leg in a plane crash that killed his father. When Wood let his storage-rental payment lag, he learned a stranger had his leg. What most surprised him is that the someone else didn’t want to return it, but had grandiose plans to make some money by displaying it as a tourist oddity.

In their wry and deadpan documentary, filmmakers Bryan Carberry and Clay Tweel deftly record “just the facts,” which, in this crazy case, speak volumes as off-roads Americana. Straight-on interviews with Whisnant extolling his prowess as an entrepreneur and his crazy idea of turning the severed appendage into a tourist attraction are uproarious. Not surprisingly, in this infotainment day and age, the media’s fascination with this oddball story amplifies it.  

Layering the nuttiness with a sympathetic sub-current of how the whole screwball episode affects the personal lives of the two men, Finders Keepers reverberates beyond the obvious story yucks. To their credit, the filmmakers deftly reveal the inner demons and struggles of these two competing leg men, and through it all flesh out this strange story with a sympathetic, non-condescending compassion.

A World Record Headquarters, Exhibit A production in association with Community Films, Fidelity Theater and Films, Different Design

Directors: Bryan Carberry, Clay Tweel

Producers: Ed Cunningham, Seth Gordon, Adam Gibbs, Bryan Carberry

Co-producers: Tim Grant, Clay Tweel

Cinematographer: Adam Hobbs

Editors: Clay Tweel, Tchavdar Georgiev, Bryan Carberry

Music: Dann Romer

No rating, 82 minutes