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Point Man

Behind the Scenes
Portrayed by

Joseph Gordon-Levitt

First Appearance

Inception: The Cobol Job

True inspiration is impossible to fake.

Arthur is Dominick Cobb's right-hand man. Although Cobb is the master planner, Arthur takes care of the details, does the research, and makes sure everything is right. Sharing dreams is not just a job for him; he finds his work fascinating. Arthur notably wields a Glock 17, and on one occasion an FN SCAR-L assault rifle. He is portrayed by Joseph Gordon-Levitt. His Totem is a red loaded die.

Inception - The Fischer JobEdit

Arthur is first seen with Cobb and Saito at a dinner party in a dream 2 layers down, where Cobb tries to have Saito spill his secrets. Saito doesn't tell Cobb anything about his secrets but made a quick glance to a wall where a hidden safe is located during the dinner. Saito then leaves to participate with the rest of his party. 
Arthur Party Scene
Arthur in the second layer
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Cobb and Arthur are walking on deck discussing their conversation with Saito when Arthur notices Cobb's projection of Mal, immediately knowing their mission will fail. Cobb leaves Arthur and tries to deal with Mal.
Saito Cobb Arthur Dinner
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Arthur is caught and brought to Saito. Cobb is also caught in the middle of extracting by Saito and Mal. Arthur is brought into the room, held by two security guards, where Mal threatens to kill Arthur using a gun at the head if Cobb doesn't hand over the file containing secrets. Cobb reminds Mal that they are in a dream. This causes Mal to change her aim on Arthur and shoot his leg, implying that pain won't wake him up. Seeing Arthur in pain, Cobb quickly shoots Arthur in the head before Mal shoots Arthur again, letting Arthur wake up in the 1st layer. The 2nd layer of the dream instantly begins to collapse now that Arthur, the dreamer, has woken from that dream.
Waking Up
Waking up in Saito's apartment
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On the 1st layer, Saito's apartment surrounded by a large group of people ruining the place, Arthur quickly attempts to keep Saito in the 2nd layer of the dream a little longer. Arthur, seeing that it won't work, tells Nash to wake Cobb up. Nash who is stressing out tells Arthur that he won't wake. Arthur tells him to give Cobb the 'kick', in other words to dunk him in the prepared bathtub full of water. Arthur's attempt to keep Saito under fails. Saito wakes up and aims a gun he had near him at Arthur. Cobb wakes up and manages to attack Saito before he shoots. Arthur and the team then question Saito about his actions and why he let them in to gain his secrets. Saito, who believes that they are in the real world, confuses the team by saying he used this chance for the team to do an audition. Cobb then knocks Saito to the ground demanding for information. Saito realises that the carpet is made of polyester when his real apartment would have wool, meaning that he is still dreaming. Time is nearly up in the 1st layer when they hear the music signal and Arthur sees the large group of people head into the building for them.

Arthur wakes up in the real world on a train in Japan when the dream ends. A few moments later Cobb and Nash wake up but Saito still remains under. While Arthur packs the PASIV device, he and Nash have a small argument about the carpet in Saito's apartment until Cobb stops them. Soon they get off the train leaving Saito to wake up himself.

Later in the evening Arthur meets with Cobb so they can board a helicopter to the airport. Knowing they failed their mission, they plan to go into hiding so that they won't be caught by Cobol Enterprises. When they reach the roof they find that Nash and Saito are already inside, Nash looking rather tortured. Saito reveals that Nash had betrayed them and offers to punish him himself. Cobb says that that's not the way he deals with things, making Saito order his men to take Nash away. Saito then gestures for Arthur and Cobb to board the helicopter to the airport.
Helicopter Inception Elephants
Arthur says inception is impossible
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In the helicopter, Saito asks Cobb and his team to perform Inception. Cobb thinks for a moment while Arthur says it is impossible, using an example about elephants to prove it. Cobb tells Arthur it is possible but decides to turn down the offer. Before they are about to board the plane, Saito offers to help Cobb go home in exchange for Cobb to perform inception. Cobb accepts the offer while Arthur still goes against it.

They head to Paris to find a new architect. While Cobb seeks his father-in-law for a college student suitable for the job, Arthur heads to a warehouse where they would be able to prepare their job. Cobb comes to the warehouse with Ariadne and Arthur puts them under so Cobb can explain the dream world to her. Cobb and Ariadne wake up five minutes later (an hour in the dream) and Ariadne is informed why architects are needed. Then Arthur put her and Cobb under again so Ariadne can have a go at building a dream. Cobb and Ariadne wake up too early and Arthur 

Penrose Stairs
Penrose Steps
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learns that they were confronted by Mal. When Ariadne asks why she woke up, Arthur tells her you can't wake up from a dream unless you die. Arthur then goes on telling her about totems and the purpose they serve. Ariadne leaves though Cobb knows she will be back. Cobb then heads for Mombassa to find a forger. Like Cobb said, Ariadne returns saying there's nothing quite like it. Arthur then takes Ariadne into a dream to show her how to create impossible shapes with architecture. He uses the penrose steps as an example. They have a small conversation which eventually leads Arthur to tell Ariadne that Mal is actually dead and what you see in the dreams are just Cobb's projections of her.
The Team Planning
Preparing to perform inception
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Cobb returns to the warehouse accompanied by Yusuf (the chemist), Saito and Eames (the forger). The team immediately begin planning on how to perform inception on Robert Fischer. During this time Arthur is shown to have a hard time with Eames such as when Arthur nearly falls off his chair when Eames uses him as an example of a 'kick'.

The team then head to the airport when Fischer boards a plane after his father has died. They drug Fischer and get prepared. The first level, Yusuf's dream, is pouring rain. They pick up each team member in a red car and a cab. Arthur drives in the cab with Saito and is soon later joined with Eames and a confused Fischer. They are soon attacked by Fischer's security who are part of his subconscious. They manage to get out of the ambush but Saito is shot in the chest.

They all arrive at a warehouse and have Fischer locked in a back room and Saito taken to a bench. Cobb tells Arthur that they were blocked by a freight train earlier and Ariadne says she didn't have one there. Then Cobb is confused to why they were ambushed so Arthur confesses that Fischer's subconscious were trained. He also adds that this piece of information did not show up in the research though Cobb is angered that Saito is dying.

Eames decides to shoot Saito to wake him up and put him out of his misery but Cobb instantly stops him. In the process he reveals that Yusuf had designed a drug that would keep the dreams stable though the team wouldn't be able to wake up until the time is up and that if a team member dies then they would drop into limbo for what could be fifty years or even more. Arthur and Eames argue with Yusuf and Cobb about not telling them the risks of going into the dreams. Cobb tells them that the only way to get out is to continue the job and to do it as fast as possible.

The team do continue. Cobb and Arthur go to interrogate Fischer. They also pretend they have Peter Browning and send in Eames impersonating Browning. Cobb and Arthur, an hour later, are able to gain a number from Fischer: 528491. Since the projections are closing in on the warehouse, the team flee in a van with Yusuf driving. Cobb says he will use a tactic called 'Mr. Charles' which Arthur advises against since their previous attempt at it failed. Cobb ignores Arthur's advice and tells Yusuf, who will stay on the first level, to drive safely as the dreams will be more unstable as they go under.

They arrive in Arthur's dream, a hotel. Arthur and Ariadne sit in the reception together, watching the other members of the team perform their job. Since there is a large amount of fast driving with sharp turns coming from the first level, the second level vibrates and slightly shifts gravity at some moments. This causes the projections to look for Arthur since he is the dreamer. To try and draw attention away, Arthur kisses Ariadne. It doesn't work but Arthur says it was worth a shot.

The two of them leave to prepare for the 'kick' to get out of the dream. They go to room 491 to plant bombs since the room is directly below 528, which is the room they will be in when going into the third level. They head to room 528 to wait for the arrival of Cobb and Fischer. Soon Cobb and Fischer arrive and Arthur sees that he has successfully used the 'Mr. Charles' tactic to pretend to bring Fischer on the team.

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The rest of the team arrive in the room and they prepare to go into the next level which will be Eames' dream. Arthur stays behind to make sure to perform the kick. Once they go under, the room immediately shakes from Yusuf's driving. Arthur leaves the room to draw the projections in the hotel away from the room but before he goes far he is attacked by two projections. At the same moment, Yusuf's van is suddenly knocked over and begins rolling down a hill, dramatically changing the gravity in Arthur's dream. Arthur manages to knock away one
Rotating Hallway Fight
Rotating Hallway Fight
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projection and engages with a fight in the hallway which is rotating because of the constant changing of gravity. Their fight ends up going into another hotel room and Arthur is able to shoot the projection with a gun that comes sliding towards him from the shifted gravity. Arthur then returns to draw other projections away though he is forced to move faster when the music to signal a kick (the van driving off a bridge) is played too early. When Arthur returns to room 528 he finds two more projections standing in front of the door. He yelps to draw both of them away and is chased up the staircase by one of them. Creating an impossible shape with the staircase, he traps the projection on the end of the staircase and pushes him off and letting him fall into the shaft where the staircase used to be.
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Arthur runs back to room 528 with only seconds and is too late when Yusuf drives off the bridge. Since the van is now falling from the bridge, there is no gravity in the 2nd layer, leading to a problem since Arthur can't drop the team members in a room without gravity. He floats back to the room and sees the rest of the team sleeping midair. He then comes up with an idea to drop them in the elevator shaft using the elevator and its cables.

Arthur has to float back to room 491 in order to retrieve the bombs planted earlier. He is confronted by the other
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projection and they have a fight midair. Arthur is able to fight them off and reaches 491 to get the bombs. He floats back to room 528 and groups the team members in a large bundle and wraps them with wires. He also notices that Saito's wound from the 1st level has started coming into effect. He floats to the elevator using help from the lights on the walls to pull him through the hallway. In the elevator, he opens the top revealing the shaft and the cables. He plants the bombs on one side of the elevator so that when they explode, the cable would break. The impact of the small explosion would cause the cables on the other side of the elevator to pull the elevator to the end of the shaft.
Elevator Shaft
The elevator shaft
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When finished, Arthur returns to the inside of the elevator and places the team into a suitable position so that they wouldn't hit each other during the kick. Arthur then takes out headphones, places them on Eames and plays music to signal the next kick coming (when the van hits the water). He counts down to the right time and activates the bombs to explode. The elevator rides all the way through the shaft to the end and when it hits the end, Arthur wakes up in the van when it hits the water. The van sinks into the water so the team members get out to reach the surface. Arthur is shocked to see that Cobb is still sleeping and is forced to abandon him. When reaching the surface he is informed that Cobb stayed under to find Saito, who has dropped into limbo along with Cobb. Fischer, who is talking to Eames but thinks he is Browning, states that his father wanted him to be his own man and that he's going to do what his father wanted.
Arthur Plane Awake
Arthur is awake on the plane
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Soon Arthur wakes up back in the aeroplane and is relieved that they have finally performed Inception and relieved when Cobb wakes up as well, showing that he didn't lose himself in limbo. Cobb is able to go through the airport back to his children and the team part ways.


Gordon-Levitt asserts, “Arthur is the organized one, the one making sure everything is in its right place. The way I see it, Cobb is the artist and Arthur is the producer. He’s the one saying, ‘Okay, you have your vision; now I’m going to figure out how to make all the nuts and bolts work so you can do your thing.’ But as fastidious and professional as he is, Arthur didn’t want to apply his organizational skills to being a lawyer or doctor or any of the things he could have been because sharing dreams is fascinating. It’s not just a job for him. It's possible the technology of dream sharing is something that has inspired him since he first heard about it so, ultimately, it’s not the money he’s doing it for. He wouldn’t risk his life for a good paycheck. He loves it.”

The Point Man HD Poster
The Point Man official poster
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Arthur is the most logical and skeptical individual of the group. As such, he often deals with the details of missions, leaving the grand schemes to the others. His solution to the problem of creating a kick in a zero-gravity environment is evidence of his resourcefulness and knowledge of physics in action.


Because his mind is so organized and stable, Arthur is often used as the dreamer for secondary dream levels. Arthur is very knowledgeable about the technical aspects of the World of the Dream and is readily able to explain it to others in very simple terms. He is also very capable at hand-to-hand combat, defeating several guards in the hallways of the hotel.


  • Saito: "Inception. Is it possible?"
    Arthur: "Of course not."
    Saito: "If you can steal an idea from someone's mind, why can't you plant one there instead?"
    Arthur: "Okay, here's me planting an idea in your head. I say to you, don't think about elephants. What are you thinking about?"
    Saito: "Elephants."
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  • Ariadne: "What's happening?"
    Arthur: "Cobb's drawing Fischer's attention to the strangeness of the dream, which is making the subconscious look for the dreamer. For me. Quick, give me a kiss."
    [She kisses him and then looks around]
    Ariadne: "They're still looking at us."
    Arthur: "Yeah, it was worth a shot."
  • [Ariadne clears throat]
    Arthur: "Cobb said you'd be back."
    Ariadne: "I tried not to come, but..."
    Arthur: "But there's nothing quite like it."
    Ariadne: "It's just... pure creation."
  • Eames: "Security's going to run you down hard."
    Arthur: " And I will lead them on a merry chase."
    Eames: "Just be back before the kick."
    Arthur: "Go to sleep, Mr. Eames."
  • "Can't drop you without gravity." [To Ariadne]
  • Arthur: "We have dealt with sub-security before. If we be a little more careful we're gonna be fine!"
  • "Eames... I am impressed."


  • He was known as The Point Man in some promotional material.
  • He was almost played by James Franco.
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