This question deals with my didn't Cobb take his children when he first had to run (there are various reasons as to why this would not be feasilble)

Mine asks why, when established in a foreign country, he went through the movie's elaborate scheme rather than flying his children out to be with him.

He fled the country to where there was no extradition treaty, so he was safe and he created the elaborate scheme to get back into the US to be with his children - why did he not simply escape when he had the chance, and later contact Miles to take the children on a 'visit to Europe' and arrange a handover in some remote place away from prying eyes?

  • Not a duplicate as that question asks why he is not take his kids with him, that has an answer. Why didn't he have his kids brought over once he had established himself in France is a different question with a different answer.
    – Stefan
    Sep 21, 2012 at 20:14
  • 1
    He doesn't establish himself anywhere, he is shown to constantly be running from people who are out to get him. The questions both ask "Why doesn't Cobb bring his children to/with him?".
    – NominSim
    Sep 21, 2012 at 20:34
  • How is he shown to be always running? His (I think!) lawyer got him a ticket out of the country to France and that was where he still was at the start of the film. Even if not then why not go somewhere with no extradition treaty and bring the children?
    – Stefan
    Sep 21, 2012 at 20:49
  • 2
    Cobb was running from more than the US government. You have to understand, in his line of work, you make many enemies. Very powerful enemies, potentially (the whole Cobol incident). Bottom line, unless he had the money and connections to "disappear" completely, having kids with him wasn't practical. Sep 21, 2012 at 23:05
  • Then why go back to the us and put his kids in danger? He did not make any money out of the deal, just legal immunity.
    – Stefan
    Sep 22, 2012 at 8:17

2 Answers 2


It wasn't merely a matter of not being able to return to the United States - he was on the run and hiding from people trying to find him. It's neither a good situation in which to raise your children, nor one conducive to remaining anonymous.

  • I was under the impression he was staying in France as he could not be extradited from there to the us? The only people he was hiding from were the us authorities who have no power in France. If that is not the case then why not go to a country with no extradition treaty and bring the kids there?
    – Stefan
    Sep 21, 2012 at 20:16
  • He could have been extradited from France - we do have extradition with France. But your second part is true - he could have gone to somewhere with no extradition treaty with us. But I think Cobb was working to get things set right, and not merely to bug out. Sep 21, 2012 at 21:00
  • My apologies, I thought there was no extradition treaty - however if he was working to get things set right why not do it in a safe country with his children with him. They could just visit if he did not want to relocate them.
    – Stefan
    Sep 21, 2012 at 21:08
  • I have the impression that it was merely a matter of months that he was away. Sep 22, 2012 at 3:42
  • Nevertheless why all of the effort to go back to the us if they can meet up in a no extradition country and avoid all of the hassle. Cobb clearly knew his way around the law so it would not be a challenge
    – Stefan
    Sep 22, 2012 at 8:55

Let's not forget that the kids would be missed.

They would stop showing up at school and stop being seen around the neighborhood where they lived. Also, kids coming into but not leaving a foreign country could cause problems for their guardian. Whoever brought them to Europe would be the first person the police would go to.

The guardians probably don't want to get involved with child smuggling. We know from the script that the kids live with Miles' ex-partner Marie, and she's not a fan of Miles and Cobb.

COBB: ... I thought you could talk to Marie about bringing them on vacation. Somewhere I could meet

MILES : Why would she listen to me?

COBB : You were married for twenty years.

MILES : She blames me as much as you.

We also know that Cobb's activities have landed him in legal trouble and that Marie is aware of that.

COBB Doesn't she understand that my kids need me?

MILES : Yes, she does. We all do. Go back and face the music.

COBB : Be realistic, Stephen. They'd never understand− they'd lock me up and throwaway the key. Or worse.

MILES : You think what you're doing now is helping your case?

COBB : Lawyers don't pay for themselves. This is what I have. This is what you taught me.

It's seems unlikely that after divorcing Miles for his involvement, she would be too keen on an international child-smuggling operation.

Even if Cobb managed to arrange some sort of legal cover-up using his connections, he'd still have to contend with Marie (the guardian). If she was a good caretaker of the children, she likely wouldn't stop looking for the kids if they vanished or were taken from her. This would require Cobb to kill or incapacitate his (ex) mother-in-law, which would be out of character for him.

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