Undercutting Finnick’s Secrets

There were some great comments to the post on some of the best and worst moments in Mockingjay. Thank you commenters (well the 99% of you who are polite and cool with us actually having opinions, even if they differ from yours). Anyway, I thought the discussion of Finnick’s propo was worthy of a post all on its own.

As mentioned in the best of/worst of post, I have mixed feelings about the whole rescue scene.  I was glad to have it added to the movie, but I felt it didn’t really show us enough of the Capitol and dragged on a bit too long. The sequence was mixed with the rebels’ “distraction” – Finnick revealing some of his greatest secrets about Snow to Panem.

finnick propoThe comments mentioned how cutting his secrets propo in with the rescue footage lessened the impact of what Finnick was saying, and I agree.  He’s being used as a distraction here, and as the movie audience we are wondering more about what will happen during the rescue than what Finnick was saying. He’s being asked to just talk for as long as possible to clutter the airwaves. His message isn’t as important to the cause here. I wouldn’t doubt that some non-book readers might miss a lot of those “secrets” because they are caught up in whether the rescue will succeed. And that’s a shame, because it’s a very powerful part of the book that helps us to connect and sympathize with Finnick.

Reducing the attention on what Finnick is saying may have helped filmmakers with any PG-13 rating worries about a man talking about being a sex slave. PG-13 tends to be very accepting to a whole lot of violence as long as it’s not too bloody, but sex, nudity, sex crimes, or the word “fuck” get you up to an R really quickly. And from a movie pacing perspective, mixing the two scenes together allowed them to use screen time effectively. Instead of having one stand-alone Finnick propo scene we get it with the bonus rescue scene.

The moments we did see were very well acted and tugged at my heart as it should. Do I wish it would have been allowed more time and attention? Yes, because I would love to see Finnick’s character further developed in these movies. Finnick’s role in Mockingjay Part 1 seemed smaller than in the book, but really, a lot of characters had short screen time, so it was probably proportional to many others. Who knows, they may address it again in Mockingjay Part 2, but my hunch is this is the last we’ll hear of Finnick’s secrets.

We’ll have other things to cry about concerning Finnick next time.




  1. I agree that the rescue part was drawn waaaay out, but interspersing the rescue with Finnick’s propo was brilliant.

  2. I think I personally wouldn’t have been as annoyed if Sam hadn’t been so GOOD at his speech. I recall that while much of the fandom negativity toward him in CF was based on an idea that he wasn’t sexy enough, I do recall some questioned whether he had the acting chops to pull off a more serious Finnick, and he certainly did. The speech was pretty much verbatim the one he gives in the book. (I also think that if the action sequences themselves hadn’t been as confusing I’d have come away with a better appreciation of the whole segment).

    JJ’s comment about “other things to cry about” in part 1 also I think the other issue with lightening the emphasis on his backstory, though, is that it actually takes away from the tragedy of his death a little. To me, what made it tragic was that just when Finnick was about to reclaim the life he always wanted, which was so different than the life he had to live, he died. Of course, the fact that he left a pregnant wife behind is also pathos-inducing, but in a rather cliche way.

    I’m not as concerned about people overlooking the whole “Snow poisoning both enemies and allies” part because we see enough of Snow being cutthroat and ruthless already (and come to think of it, maybe even the Seneca implied-death scene in THG was meant to be a clue that poison was Snow’s preferred weapon).

    In general, it seems this whole idea that life for the Victors was hellish in general has been downplayed; we also don’t get Haymitch’s backstory, and so far in MJ he seemed to be played mostly for comic relief. It also seems Enobaria may have been cut from MJ as well. Her role is important in that we find out that even an apparent committed D2 Career tribute, turns out to hate the Capitol too with her “let them have a taste of their own medicine” line. I guess they could still have her turn up in Part 2 at the end. Or perhaps Lyme, also a D2 Victor, will wind up taking Enobaria’s place at the voting table?

    But I also realize that without the split we might not even have gotten what we DID get. I just think the execution could have been a little better.

    1. “To me, what made it tragic was that just when Finnick was about to reclaim the life he always wanted, which was so different than the life he had to live, he died. Of course, the fact that he left a pregnant wife behind is also pathos-inducing, but in a rather cliche way.”

      The tears are starting already 😦 and I do wonder how the movie-only watchers will perceive his character arc now.

  3. It’s made all the more damning that a major point was how Katniss had all these preconceptions about Finnick that were dashed to bits with his revelations, complete with her being utterly mortified with what she thought of him beforehand.
    However, here there’s no sign at all that she acknowledges this; instead, she’s too busy looking at the rescue team.

    I personally feels that they could have had both the rescue and his speech shown. But having Katniss there with Finnick instead of at Command and showcasing her mounting horror at what he’s saying would have made a more emotional impact. She could then fret over the rescue afterwards.

    In general, the final product of how Finnicks showcased hasn’t been enough so far to make me truly dread his death. We’ve seen the flirtatous and tortured side of him, but what about the friendly goofball? The cut rope scene (not to mention the interviews) flat-out shows that it’s not like Claflin is incapable of showing that side.

    1. I do wish they could have made the movie a few minutes longer and separated the two scenes like you describe. It would have had MUCH more impact. And I hate to be /that/ person, but leaving in the underwear scene would have helped to show the goofball side. We know they filmed that scene, so I wonder if it again was a time issue or something about the scene was off.

      1. Especially when Effie is complimenting Gale; the scene actually felt like Bogg’s quip was already there but was cut out in the editing room. It was practically begging for the line, but nope.

        In terms of splitting the scenes, that could easily be done in how it went in the book: propo recorded first, then broadcasted later. In doing so, it would actually probably not have taken that much time more because they could have made the rescue scene more whole with only occasional perspective switches back to Command.

        I actually do wonder a bit why the filmakers are so intent on keeping to the strict 2hr formula. Do they think that the target demographic is so antsy that they wouldn’t be able to sit through an extra 15 mins (at most; all of CF’s deleted scenes {and then some; still not over the cutting of the morphling} could have been put without going over that or breaking pacing)?

  4. Just watched yesterday for the 8th time, so it’s safe to say I like the rescue scene overall. Being practical, I agree with satsumarena. The real issue I see with downplaying his revelations about his life as a victor is that it takes away the tragedy of his death. It’s all great info over the games and how the Capitol treats its victor, but words don’t have much of a impact on only-movie viewers and since Finnick’s secrets doesn’t change the plot, it would have made no sense giving emphasis to his propo besides building ground for the effect of his death on the viewers in Part 2.

    ThatGuy, that would be cool! Katniss there with him while he filmed his propo. But even tho in the movie Katniss was paying A LOT of attention at the rescue mission, it seems Coin was surprised to know about Finnick’s past life in the Capitol.

    After all, it looks like the filmmakers are just following the ideas they started in the first movie: making all about Katniss. It’s about HER in the games, HER as a victor, HER as a symbol, the effects it has on HER. Panem’s backstory, the hunger games, other characters… it’s just background for her, but with such a good cast, these characters end up emerging above the surface and making us pay attention to them. e.g. Effie, Peeta, Plutarch and even Johanna. Stanley Tucci as Caesar fascinates me.

    1. The movies are blessed with such great actors that we just want more time with them! True, and I think I felt that the most with this movie. This one of the many reasons that I can’t imagine them just doing one Mockingjay movie now. We would feel cheated of so many moments.

      And to your comment below, *bows*

  5. I.Need.To.Comment (please forget the last time that I said I will stop)

    I agree. I salute Finnick for divulging those ‘secrets’ – surely, he captured everyone’s attention especially those in power and influential personalities that it will be of no surprise if they would have been plotting together how to kill him in another Games or in any Arena after that broadcast. Using The Hanging Tree, Finnick is already a dead man. Finnick is willing to sacrifice for the revolution- for Annie’s future and the rest of Panem.

    But the most important ‘secret’ (which I hope is not lost to the movie goers) – Snow himself also drinking poison to avoid suspicion as a means to attain and maintain power – poses a lot of questions about him/his motives. Again, as a contrast to Coin, Snow is exposing/subjecting himself to the same danger (poison) as his target to preserve ‘peace’. To reach the position of President, he must have poisoned more than a handful of people (meaning he also poisoned himself repeatedly); even if an anti-dote is available the fact that he drinking poison more than once is putting his life in danger by destroying his body inside (sores not healing sounds like cancer, and maybe he only has few months to live- note his urgency to quash the rebellion). He probably knows the price of repeatedly drinking poison so, Snow is also a dead man. Makes you think why would he go such lengths if he is only thinking of himself (what’s the use of exclusivity in power if you will die/ are dead?) The granddaughter plays a role in here. Maybe the things he says in the Reaping Film “courage” “sacrifice” “safeguard our future” is not merely ‘Talk’.

    So going back, Finnick’s revelation about Snow made me think about Snow. If movie goers paid attention and caught the moment when blood from his mouth mixed with his wine at the end of the Victory Tour, non book readers too will know that he is ill. But with Finnick’s revelation it appears his illness is greatly due to his strategy with the poison (we can hypothesize that he could not be ill if he didnt drink poison, but he chose and did what he did for his own reasons) … To preserve ‘peace’ in Panem? (How many people will drink poison too to avoid suspicion?) Much like the victors and the citizens of Panem, Snow also is paying the ultimate price. (Imagine what will happen to his granddaughter if he dies from his illness)

    Does this change Katniss’ view of the Enemy? Make her re-think of Snow’s moves so far? Is she affected in anyway/are the average movie goers in Mockingjay Part 1? This is what was lost in that moment in the movie.

    Meanwhile, Coin is out of harm’s way.

    1. ^ and so with that, I am looking forward to Katniss-Snow conversation in Part 2.

      (In my comment above, I know Coin also has been through/experienced horrible things which I do not discount so I am also looking forward to Katniss-Coin. But really: Katniss-Snow! Jennifer Lawrence – Donald Sutherland!)

      (Again, from my comment above: I think it “was lost in that moment in the movie” because the focus is on the Rescue than Snow’s profile/secret.)

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