Finders Keepers: NZFF Review
The American dream, 15 minutes of fame and a foot all feature heavily in Finders Keepers.
This Incredibly Strange but completely true documentary spins the story of John Wood, a good-ole-boy from Maiden NC who lost his leg - and father - when their plane came down. But while John lost his pa, he decided not to lose his paw, preferring to keep the mummified remain in a smoker in a storage unit. However, when he failed to make the payments on the storage locker, the contents were auctioned off to the highest bidder - and this just happened to be Wood's nemesis, Shannon Wishnant.
Initially sparking a 911 call, Wishnant soon fired up an interest in the foot which he found in a smoker as he refused to return it to its rightful owner, invoking the ancient rights of Finders Keepers - and provoking years of divide and resentment to build as international interest in this American Foot Locker piqued.
But where this doco manages to triumph is in cataloguing a growing discord between the two and grounding it in human relatable characters. This could well be your neighbour you fall out with over noise, rather than a stereotyped over-the-top cartoonish caricature; giving Shannon and John a realism and keeping them steeped in it, keeps you invested in the story.
The story flips on a dime, but the overall feeling of this unashamedly feel good and yet also sad doco is one of warmth. The insight into the human condition is a fascinating one, America's predilection for 15 minutes of fame is richly mined while contrasting one man's sadness. Both John and Shannon have moments where you feel their attitudes are justified and the film-makers respectfully don't make fools out of their subjects. Certainly, Shannon's journey is one that packs in the melancholy - his eventual destination is one that leaves you feeling sympathy and empathy while questioning why on earth he's pursued it. John's a little more easy to understand but his estrangement from his family is nothing short of sad.
Finders Keepers is a feast of fucked-up,a foot, 15 minutes of fame and feelings - it's a rare beast for the Incredibly Strange to have concocted such a mix of emotions on the conclusion of a screening, but it's extremely welcome.
Put your best foot forward and see this.