I've had many dreams in my life, some of them recurring. Dreams of failing college because I didn't attend one of my classes, a dream of riding my bike and crashing it, and a dream in which my grandfather was still alive. I've also had some rather surreal ones, such as one dream that wasn't in first-person and involved an empty cathedral and a shadowy being patrolling it, or a dream in high school in which I was in a swimming pool placed for some reason in the middle of the band room, while the entire band played and I was hoping no-one would notice me not with them (I was in band at the time, and hated it).
There's a lot of potential in a movie about entering dreams in at attempt to plant information in someone's mind, but sadly, in the movie's ~2.5 hours, a lot of that potential remains untapped.
Rules are established. We're told that random civilians in the dream are subconscious projections of the dreamer, and can turn on people who mess with the dream. That makes sense; I've had dreams where the people around me all seemed intimidating in some way, and I can picture it working here. If you die in the dream, you wake up. Having had two dreams that literally jolted me awake (neither involved death, but both involved injury), that also is a good idea. And naturally, time seems slower in a dream, something I've also experienced when I'd wake up while still tired, fall back asleep, have a vivid dream, then wake up only 10 minutes later and be surprised so little time had passed. And people can also dream within the dreams, slowing time down even more.
But the dreams themselves are as mundane as the first three I'd described. Dreams can
be surreal, but much of the time, they're not. They're boring, everyday stuff. The locations in the movie, while varied (hotel, snowy mountain, city streets), are also realistic and lacking in surreal elements.
The established rules are used to fuel the story: characters enter dreams within dreams in order to run and hide, and some subconscious elements actually do play a role, such as the protagonist's guilt over his wife's death.
Still, I think a little more of the surreal nature of symbolic dreams could be explored. So much potential, but only some is used. As it is, this is a chase movie with a unique concept. Neat, but imperfect.