The movie's a bit of a head scratcher. I'm steeped in Russian tradition (in part thanks to immigrant parents, a born-in-Russia-but -not-a-mail-order-bride girlfriend, and an obsession with Chekov, Solzhenitsyn, and Tolstoy) so a lot of the weird incoherent stuff was reminiscent enough of things I've heard here and there that I let them slide. Gary, who I saw it with, thought it was all just incoherent bullshit. I'm actually kind of sorry I didn't take Dina, because I get the feeling it would've made at least slightly more sense to her than it did to either of us.
So, bizarre mythos aside, the movie's pretty fun (if over long), has a bit of an uneven tone (which I'm just attributing to it's ethnic origins, I mean... what other nationality has produced books with titles like Cancer Ward, about the camarederie of forgotten about cancer patients telling racist jokes and croaking one by one?), and visually stunning (although some of the more simple stuff is lacking, the effects are positively remarkable.)
So, sort of a hesitant recommendation. My money still sits on 16 Blocks as the best movie thus far of 2006. Hollywood, it's time to prove me wrong.