The train barrelling through the street definitely hinted at that kind of crazy juxtaposition of ideas, but I would have loved to have seen a lot MORE of that in the movie myself.
I'd have to agree with you. I was expecting more bizarre imagery, but then again, this is Nolan. This is the most bizarre and visually wild movie he's ever done. He's usually pretty sane with his approach to his visuals.
I think I was honestly expecting more creative action sequences like the hallway sequence. However, I wonder if we saw too much bizarre imagery and too much of those weird dream state visuals that it would become stale after a while?
It'd start looking like dreams I actually have.
I guess if I was going to criticize the idea for its realism it'd be that dreams simply don't work this way. The idea of the film of elaborately built architecture and a distinction between that and the people in the dreams is cute, but... my dreams involve stuff like buffalos standing on the land in the place of a tree (which then ate me), or a giant white whale eating my family after they've driven into the ocean. Or when I entered a lucid dream and, becoming deathly afraid I was about to be eaten by a polar bear, I was eaten by a polar bear.
In retrospect my childhood dreams seemed to dislike the idea of being eaten by exotic animals.
And that's sort of what fascinates me about dreams. I'm lured to the siren call of impossibility; of worlds that cannot be and never would be - it's really why I'm a science fiction fan. I dream these things; and then I search the real world for anything remotely approximating my dreams of massive, grimy industrial worlds of green; or blue/purple gauze of perpetual twilight.
Sure, a related issue is whether dream worlds can be real or not, often related in the writings of a certain sci-fi author, but consider how bizarre, how weird, and how memorable the crumbling realities of Philip K. Dick can be - autofac ersatz realities that mix surreal elements with Californian settings.
Anyway, I never have dreams as vivid, lucid and rational as all the dreams depicted here and I never have dreams as coherent
in visual structure - I don't have whole buildings you can walk around in and have another point of view; they're all very blurry and bizarre and odd. There wouldn't be one room to stand in, let alone a whole building, and I doubt a distinction between people and buildings would count for much.
However. Inventing rules for the rule-less thing that is the dream world is integral in making the entire premise of the film work and I didn't begrudge it that aspect. One suspends disbelief in far greater ways for say, space opera.
And that said, the film works admirably on its own merits. It made me think of Shutter Island
, another film with Leonardo DiCaprio and uncertain realities and the disturbed DiCaprio having a nebulous relationship with a dead woman. I eat this stuff up, and I sure as hell enjoyed Inception's
kick. (A double meaning?) It's very Nolan - puzzle obsessed, clinical, feeling solidly grounded for all its fantasy - and as such, very good.