In Inception, in the Mombasa chase scene, How do the Cobol Engineering's agents know Cobb had arrived in Mombasa?

  • Yes but the same COBOL engineering is used in the movie 'the mechanic' (Jason statham)... Which has Nuthing to do with dreams and planting ideas
    – user2117
    Sep 28, 2012 at 5:59

2 Answers 2


As with so many plot points in Inception this is probably designed to cloud our understanding about whether Cobb is in the real world or in a dream. You could easily say that Cobol Engineering are obviously a very powerful and ruthless company - they were willing to hire Cobb's group to steal ideas from a competitor, and are willing to kill Cobb for his failure. It seems that they would be the sort of organization that could hire investigator to track Cobb, and would be willing to pay for information about his whereabouts.

Later in the movie, Mal (well probably Mal's projection) suggests to Cobb that he doesn't really know what reality is. She points out that it is odd that he is constantly pursued across the globe by powerful organizations. The suggestion is that Cobol's agents are acting like projections - hunting Cobb down like he is the architect in someone else's dream.

So you can take your pick - they are either a powerful and well informed organization, or they are merely projections of someone else's subconscious.


Cobol Engineering has a significant presence in Africa.

ARTHUR: Eames? But he's in Mombasa. Cobol's backyard.

COBB: Necessary risk.

Screenplay - Inception

Cobol have placed a bounty on Cobb's head, which presumably includes a description. He's worked for them before, so it's more than likely that they have access to an up-to-date picture and a white man in Mombasa is not a common sight anyway, so he'd stand out like a sore thumb even if they didn't have a photo to refer to.

EAMES: Word is, you're not welcome in these parts.

COBB: Yeah?

EAMES: There's a price on your head from Cobol Engineering. Pretty big one, actually.

It doesn't take long before he's spotted by a local who reports it to Cobol, who start to tail him while they wait for the heavies to turn up.

EAMES: Once you've lost your tail. (Cobb reacts) Back by the bar, blue tie. Came in about two minutes after we did.

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