By Daniel Barnes
*Opens today at the Roxie Theater in San Francisco, and now available to rent on iTunes.
If there were an award for Best Documentary That You Least Expected to Be an Emotionally Involving, Lump-in-Your-Throat Examination of Grief, Ambition, Class Resentment, Imperious Fathers, Media Exploitation and Human Frailty, then this tabloid-ready tale of the dispute over an amputated leg would be a shoo-in. It began in 2007 when small-time wheeler-dealer Shannon Whisnant successfully bid on an abandoned North Carolina storage locker and inside found a human left foot resting on a BBQ grill, a find that only got weirder when the leg’s original owner John Wood came forward to claim it. The dispute between the deeply troubled, drug-addicted Wood and the self-anointed “Foot Finder” Whisnant played out in the press, from local newscasts and freak-show podcasts to appearances on Judge Mathis and The Jerry Springer Show to a brief stint as a viral Internet sensation, a momentary oddity meant to be mocked and forgotten, but dogged directors Bryan Carberry and J. Clay Tweel dig deeper into the story than you can possibly imagine. One of the best documentaries of the year so far, Finders Keepers isn’t just a film about losing and finding a foot; it’s a film about losing and finding a soul.