The film gets straight into the action and storyline, in this instance, a dream. The opening shots will not make any sense to a new viewer, e.g why he is washed up on a beach and why other characters are there. There is both diegetic and non-diegetic sound used here to create an important establishing scene and a surreal atmosphere. The opening scene is seen at the end however, with a defining twist.
Another point is that the viewer is made to think about what's happening immediately after the film starts. There isn't much explanation to the plot until after the opening scenes, so it is the viewer who has to work out what's going on initially.
The plot of the story develops as it progresses, and it is made clearer what is happening. However, it is still ambiguous and somewhat confusing to an extent, such as the concept of inception itself, or a dream within a dream within a dream.
As for the look of the film, the special effects used and computer graphics involved are absolutely stunning and incredibly well done, with the best examples below. These enhance the film's aesthetics and make the viewer want to see more. These shots are taken from when Cobb is explaining to Ariadne the concept of extraction, whilst in a dream.
There is a strong mathematical element in the film too, for example where the team are about to enter a dream within a dream within a dream and they describe the way way it goes from a week to three months to 10 years at different stages in the dream sequence.
A strong theme of love also plays a part in the film, mainly portrayed through the main character and his deceased wife. Cobb accesses memories rather than dream sequences, which is dangerous. Arthur and Ariadne also have a small part to play that contributes to the romantic theme.
Because of the links between dream sequences, memories and reality, there are constant jumps and cuts where the location and time period changes rapidly. The viewer has to keep with what's going on if they're to understand the fascinating storyline.
Inception on IMDb