|“||Do you want to become an old man, filled with regret, waiting to die alone?||”|
|Behind the Scenes|
Mr. Saito is an immensely powerful and wealthy business magnate, and is the head of Proclus Global. He offers Cobb a job for a valuable reward; to clear Cobb of his charges and to allow him to return home to America and his children. In the film, Eames given him the nickname of "The Tourist" because he has no specific expertise but yet is still able to use his financial influence to join Cobb's extraction team. He is portrayed by Ken Watanabe.
Saito accompanies Cobb and his team on the job he hired them to do and in some ways helps plan it; when finding a place to sedate Fischer to get him into the dream world, Saito buys out an airline so the team can accompany Robert Fischer on the 10-hour flight to Los Angeles. When Cobb and his Team use the PASIV Device to sedate themselves and Fischer, Saito goes under with them, and the team enters the New York dream.
In the first level of the dream, the plan goes wrong, and it is revealed that Fischer has had his subconscious trained to fight Extractors. In a violent car chase, Saito receives a mortal gunshot wound to the chest. The team brings him to a warehouse where they try to keep him alive as long as possible.
In the next level of the dream, the Hotel, Saito simply watches. Due to the dream being another layer down, his gunshot wound hurts less and there is no blood, enabling him to function normally. After learning about Eames's forging ability, he accidentally confuses a projection of Peter Browning for a disguised Eames, uttering the line, "I see you've changed!". Eames then comes up behind Browning and he realizes his mistake.
When the team goes to the final level of the dream, the snow-covered mountains, Saito accompanies them into the large hospital fortress in the center of the dream world; however, he is wounded, and his condition is worsening. When Fischer is shot by Mal, he is unable to help him and Fisher dies, descending into Limbo. Afterwards, Mal is killed by Cobb, and Eames asks Saito to hold a grenade and protect Fischer while he sets up explosives. After using the grenade to kill many projections, Saito dies, and goes into Limbo. Cobb and Ariadne go down into Limbo to find Fischer, and after Ariadne pushes Fischer off of the highest floor of Cobb and Mal's home, she jumps herself, administering the kick, and leaving Cobb alone to search for Saito.
Years later, Cobb washes up on a shore and is brought inside of a large palace; inside it is Saito, though he is now ninety years old. Both struggle to remember their situation, but slowly regain memories of their former life. Finally, Cobb, noticing the constantly spinning totem, gives Saito a message: that the world is not real. Cobb and Saito discuss going back to reality for a moment, and Saito reaches for Cobb's Beretta.
Both Cobb and Saito awake from Limbo, presumably having shot themselves, and Saito immediately honors his agreement to Cobb, allowing him to return to his family with a single phone call.
Despite not having any special skills, he is an excellent shot, taking out guards in the first level with a Browning BDM.
- Saito: "Have you come to kill me? ...I've been waiting for someone."
Cobb : "Someone from a half-remembered dream."
Saito: "Cobb? Impossible... We were young men together. I'm an old man."
Cobb: "Filled with regret..."
Saito: "Waiting to die alone?"
Cobb: "I've come back for you, to remind you of something. Something you once knew. That this world is not real."
Saito: "To convince me to honor our arrangement."
Cobb: "To take a leap of faith, yes. Come back, so we can be young men together again. Come back with me. Come back..."
- "Dare you take a leap of faith? Or become an old man, filled with regret, waiting to die alone?"
- Arthur: "It would have to be a 747."
Cobb: "Why is that?"
Arthur: "Because in a 747, the pilot's up top, and the first class cabin's in the nose, so no one would walk through. But you'd have to buy out the entire cabin. And the first class flight attendant..."
Saito: "I bought the airline."
[Everybody turns and stares at him. Saito just shrugs]
Saito: "It seemed neater."
- Arthur:"Don't think about elephants."
Arthur:"Now what are you thinking about?"
- He was known as The Tourist in some promotional material.
- The film's subsequent events are left ambiguous to the audience.