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Review: Finders Keepers

October 2, 2015

By John Corrado

★★★½ (out of 4)

Finders Keepers PosterAfter playing at Hot Docs, Finders Keepers is opening at the Bloor Cinema this weekend, tickets and showtimes can be found right here.

The truth really is stranger than fiction in Finders Keepers, a compellingly absurd and surprisingly emotional documentary, that recounts the entirely bizarre story of two men in South Carolina who were both fighting over the same amputated leg, in a heated battle that eventually took them to court.

John Wood is the rightful owner of the missing body part, having lost the leg in a tragic plane crash, and deciding to keep it as a way to memorialize his father, who died in the accident.  But when he lost his home and was unable to pay the bills on the storage locker where the decaying leg was being kept in an old smoker grill, all of his possessions were sold at auction.

The foot ended up in the hands of small town entrepreneur Shannon Whisnant, who always dreamed of being famous and found what he thought was his golden opportunity when he purchased that grill, fashioning the leg into a tourist attraction and claiming ownership over the severed body part.  As John battles drug addictions and long buried survivor’s guilt in his fight to reclaim the amputated leg, and Shannon faces the sensationalistic approach of the media, forcing him to start coming to terms with his constantly dashed dreams of being famous, we become invested in their oddly poignant plight.

Directors Bryan Carberry and Clay Tweel capture all of the weird twists and turns of their stories, moving seamlessly between pitch black comedy and gutting tragedy.  Both darkly funny and often strangely moving, Finders Keepers is a unique and well made documentary that successfully balances absurd entertainment and genuine heartbreak, offering an engaging and surprisingly layered human drama, that is both respectful of and empathetic towards the larger than life characters involved.

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