Dominick Cobb

Written by. Jacob Baggett

Inception was released on July 16, 2010 [1]. It tells the story of Dominick Cobb who works as an “idea” thief. The story revolves around the idea of traveling into dreams with the use of special machines. Using these machines, Cobb can directly plug into a person’s subconscious and obtain information that would otherwise be impossible to obtain. Because of the death of his wife and its suspicious circumstances, he is forced to flee the country. In order to return he turns to thievery to find a way back home to his children. Cobb is eventually approached by Saito, a Japanese businessman, to break up an energy conglomerate by planting the idea to dissolve the company into Robert Fischer’s mind. The idea of planting a thought, or a memory, into a person’s mind is known as inception. However, it is believed to be impossible. Saito tells Cobb that if he can pull off the job, that he will help have his record cleaned. This would allow him to safely return home to his children. Cobb quickly agrees and decides to put his skills as a thief to use in order to dissolve Fischer’s company.

Cobb may not appear to be a noble thief, but in fact he is. Instead of stealing money from Fischer he plants an idea that steals from Fischer the desire to continue his father’s legacy and the idea to dissolve the company. However, Fischer benefits from this as well. His relationship with his father was tenuous at best. In order to create the idea in Fischer’s mind and allow it to stick, Cobb and his team had to trick the man into believing Fischer’s father was disappointed in him not because he was his son, but because he was trying to continue his father’s legacy instead of starting his own. This plan works allowing Cobb to pull off his heist, but he also restores the relationship between father and son. Fischer’s father is dead at this point, but the reality of whether or not he felt this way does not seem to matter. For Fischer at least, his feelings towards his father have stabilized and developed from hate to love.

This is a much different idea of a noble thief than seen before, but it can still be considered one. Cobb is in fact stealing Fischer’s company from him by creating the desire to destroy it. This allows Saito’s company to remain the leader in the energy field, instead of falling behind in comparison to Fischer’s company. However, it also allows Cobb to return to America and see his family. The heist was performed on an airplane in route to America. Had the plan failed and the plane landed, then Cobb would have been arrested as he entered the country. The risk of imprisonment was prevalent in his mind during the entire job, and because of his criminal status he has been unable to return to his home. He literally had to live on the “fringes of society”. Assuming his society was his home he had to live anywhere other than America, but he was also considered a criminal in other parts of the world. This means that no matter wherever he went he had to constantly hide in order to avoid capture.

Cobb’s motives in preforming the heist revolve strictly around getting back to his family, but there is also the fact that the successful job restored the relationship between a father and his son. The son may have had his company stolen from him, the company in this sense represents his wealth, but he has every opportunity and ability to create his own company. So while Cobb steals from the man, he is actually giving him the chance to create his own legacy rather than living in his father’s shadow. Instead of money, it is an immaterial abstraction being stolen and instead of being given to the poor it is returned to the victim as a chance to create his own destiny outside of the box his father’s legacy was placing him into. Cobb is surely a different type of noble thief, but there is no denying that he is one. His final job hurts and helps a man all at the same time, as well as allowing Cobb to clear his name and return home to his loved ones. Cobb can also be considered an antihero. He works outside of the law by stealing ideas from people. However, the only real issue with his status as a antihero is similar to issues brought up by his noble thief status. He is not what one expects out of an antihero. He does not commit crimes for the good of the world, rather he commits them for the good his family.

[1] Leonardo DiCaprio, Inception. DVD. Directed by Christopher Nolan (Burbank: Warner Brothers Pictures, 2010)