Bryan Carberry & Clay Tweel’s Finders Keepers is a strange and heartbreaking tale of redemption, perfectly summed up with this quote, “It’s a funny story, but it’s born out of tragedy” spoken by Peg Wood, the mother John Wood. John, his severed leg, and another man named Shannon Whisnant are at the center of this story you truly have to see to believe.
The documentary follows John, Shannon and their families throughout several years, letting the viewer see the struggles they all face and their battle for ownership of John’s leg.
Just imagine buying a storage unit with a grill inside, then finding a dismembered human limb in the grill. I feel it’s safe enough to say if this happened to you, or any other person of sound mind, that they would call the police, hand over the limb and call it a day, but not if you’re Shannon Whisnant. For Shannon, he took it as a sign from above, and those are his own words.
The “sign from above” belongs to John Wood, who lost his father and his leg in a 2004 plane crash. He wanted to keep his severed leg as a memorial to his father, which yeah is weird, but hey to each his own. John’s life of constantly teeter-tottering between sobriety and addiction takes its toll on his family, who try to help him stay clean. After being evicted by his mother he puts his leg into a smoker grill that was put into a storage unit, that he then defaulted on; and that is how John’s leg ended up in Shannon’s possession. After all that we should have a pretty clear cut solution to this, but Shannon would not allow that.
The self-proclaimed entrepreneur seems to have gotten a heavy dose of southern without any of the charm. How the filmmakers kept a straight face or had the patience to put up with this character, I’ll never know. Whenever Shannon appears on screen his cocky demeanor keeps him from seeing the joke he is making of himself. We all know people like Shannon, the type who think they are the most important person that lived, smarter than everyone else and love to hear themselves talk. As much as you want to hate Shannon the film does an incredible job of not telling this story in just black and white.
Shannon’s hunger for attention and fame is pathetic, and instead of hating him you end up just feeling bad for this man who didn’t get enough love from his father. (Unless you’re me, fuck this guy seriously, he is everything that is wrong with America in my opinion). Shannon is almost willing to sell his soul for frame, a point made quite clear, not only from his interviews but the toll it takes on his wife and their marriage. We see two men presented with an opportunity to better themselves, and it’s sad to see that one of them learned nothing at all.
We see John go on a rough journey to find peace and closure through bizarre circumstances in Finders Keepers, but we also see humanity in it’s truest form. This movie is amazing and entertaining, showing real souls at their best and worst, a true must-see.