Doc Thoughts: Finders Keepers

Two men feud over a severed leg in the stranger than fiction documentary Finders Keepers. John Wood lost his leg in an airplane crash, which claimed the life of his father. Wood decides to preserve his leg as a memorial to his father, but the leg ends up in a smoker in a storage unit and subsequently sold in an auction. The smoker was acquired by a man named Shannon Whisnant, who after finding the leg inside, decides to make it a macabre tourist attraction. The two men begin feuding over ownership of the leg, which is only the tip of the iceberg of this complicated story.

Finders Keepers is a quite humorous documentary about this very unusual story, which can only come out of the United States of America, where there are not only people willing to preserve their severed leg, but there are also those who would use said leg for fame and fortune.

While the macabre story of this leg is likely what would draw audiences into Finders Keepers, ultimately the film uses this feud over the leg as a catalyst to tell the individual stories of John Wood and Shannon Whisnant, both of which are somewhat sad in their own way. Shortly after the accident that lost him his leg, John Wood fell into a substance abuse problem, which only worsened during the media circus surrounding this feud. Shannon Whisnant on the other hand, is a man who desires fame by any means necessary. In light of finding the leg on this smoker, Shannon immediately began thinking up of money-making opportunities, which included charging admission for a peak inside the grill and printing up hats and t-shirts with his new nickname of the “footman.”

The story of Finders Keepers is edited in such a way that John Wood is the main source of audience sympathy, while Shannon Whisnant is someone to laugh at. However, the true humor of Finders Keepers comes from the fact that this story even exists at all. If it wasn’t for the documentary medium, and some brief glimpses of the mummified foot in question, I don’t know if I would have ever really believed that this was ever a real story.

At the end of the day, Finders Keepers is little more than a human interest story and not an absolute must-see. However, I have to say that I very much enjoyed myself watching this doc and the lengths that people would go through for a severed foot.

8 / 10 stars

Sean Kelly Author

Sean Patrick Kelly is a self-described über-geek, who has been an avid film lover for all his life. He graduated from York University in 2010 with an honours B.A. in Cinema and Media Studies and he likes to believe he knows what he’s talking about when he writes about film (despite occasionally going on pointless rants).