I feel this is a major plot point.

If he could manage to stay hidden alone, he could stay hidden with his kids as well.

Why leave them behind if he misses them so much?

4 Answers 4


Generally, when people try to "disappear" in real life, it is through their children that they eventually get found. Here's one article about the difficulties in long term disappearances. And wasn't the top still spinning after he went outside with his kids at the end (which would indicate that his wife was correct about them still being stuck in a shared dream)?

  • 7
    Great answer, linking it to the real world with that article. Wonder if Cobb had read it or it was just his inspiration. :) About that second part, actually we are not shown whether it falls or not, as the movie fades out. Nolan states that it doesn't matter and that what he wanted to show was that Cobb didn't care since he was with his kids again. See wikipedia: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inception_(film)#Ending Jan 31, 2011 at 12:39
  • ...but that's true... it doesn't matter because for everything that matters, he is with his kids and thus happy.
    – Adam
    Jan 31, 2011 at 15:42
  • The top doesn't matter because if it is still spinning when he comes back inside he'll know he's still in a dream, and he'll presumably continue working his way back up.
    – philosodad
    Apr 10, 2011 at 1:33
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    Not to mention that Cobb didn't have much time. His associate even tells him, "It's now or never." There probably wasn't enough time to get 2 extras passports
    – Steam
    Dec 3, 2012 at 15:55

"If he could manage to stay hidden alone, he could stay hidden with his kids as well" doesn't hold water. A lone adult has tremendously more mobility and flexibility than one trying to take care of a couple of kids. How is a fugitive going to send his kids to school? When he has to pull up stakes and leave for another country on five minutes' notice because the wrong person found out where he was, might his kids complicate that? Is he a big enough asshole to pull his kids away from their family, friends, entire social context in order to take them with him on the run, and then keep doing that repeatedly?

If he loves his kids, making them fugitives alongside him is not exactly the most caring thing to do.

  • True, but none of that stops the old man from having the kids out for a visit, does it?
    – DampeS8N
    Jan 29, 2011 at 23:49
  • @DampeS8N: It probably does, yes. If he's wanted for murder and known to be an expatriate fugitive, there are probably eyes on his children's air travel and such.
    – chaos
    Jan 30, 2011 at 0:08
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    They probably should have put eyes on the children's grandparents and ears on their phone conversations as well. Jan 30, 2011 at 9:34
  • 2
    Yeah, but you can mask where you are calling from fairly easily, at least enough to be somewhere else for a while. Jan 30, 2011 at 15:04

The movie shows the urgency with which he left, and the fact that his lawyer had only made plans for him to escape.

The Thin Man offers Cobb the piece of paper. A CHILD'S SHOUT - Cobb TURNS. Ariadne follows his gaze to the garden. A small blonde boy faces away from them, crouched on his haunches to look at something on the ground.

There's a bit about the children then...

The Thin Man thrusts the paper into Cobb's hand.

THIN MAN: Right now. Or never, Cobb.

Cobb nods, turns from the window

So that's the simple answer - he didn't plan his getaway, his lawyer did. And only for him. Running out of the country isn't as simple as most movies make it seem, and apparently he had the law on his trail in an immediate sense, making it even more difficult.


One possibility is that his wife was right - he's still in a dreamworld. The world of the movie does have some odd aspects. In that case, it's part of a bad dream.

  • Well, you could make a whole bad movie, and in the end you could say "Oh, it wasn't real, it doesn't have to make sense". Jan 30, 2011 at 20:59
  • 3
    I agree - a well written story would introduce hints which would have plausible explanations that are consistent with both interpretations of the ending, without introducing plot holes along the way. Feb 1, 2011 at 2:53

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