If ever there was such a thing as “prestige TV,” Ripley is it. Based on the novel that inspired Anthony Minghella’s luscious 1999 pulp masterpiece, The Talented Mr. Ripley, Ripley can be easily written off as not more than a TV series capitalizing on a familiar and much-beloved movie, but that would be horribly unfair. The eight-part Netflix miniseries, starring Andrew Scott in the titular role, is a much deeper exploration of the character of Thomas Ripley, and I’m told a much closer adherence to the book it is based on.

I will admit, it was hard for me to get excited about this series, because I really wasn’t interested in seeing another version of the story that I thought had been done so well in Minghella’s film. But I quickly realized, once I did start watching, that the vision for Ripley, by writer/director Steven Zaillian, was so different from the film, that it truly does stand on its own, even though it does share major plot beats with the film and novel.

Zaillian, known more for his screenplays than for his directing, is as prestige as it gets in Hollywood, having won an Oscar for his screenplay for Schindler’s List in 1993 and been nominated four other times. Because of this, he was able to enlist Oscar-winning cinematographer Robert Elswit, who won his Academy Award for There Will Be Blood, to be behind the camera for Ripley and boy does it show.

Here are just a few of the films that Elswit shot: Boogie Nights, Magnolia, Good Night, and Good Luck, Michael Clayton, Nightcrawler, and Inherent Vice. But I dare say his work on Ripley will go down as his crowning achievement.

Ripley is mostly set in coastal Italy in the late ‘50s, as Tom Ripley is hired in New York by a shipbuilding magnate to go retrieve his son, Dickie (played by Johnny Flynn), who has spent a small fortune wiling away his days in Italy instead of following in his father’s business footsteps. When Tom finds Dickie, however, he becomes seduced by Dickie’s lifestyle—so much so, that he wants it for himself. And he’ll go to any lengths to get it.

While, admittedly, there is a plot and there are characters, Zaillian and Elswit seemed to understand that this story isn’t based on a great work of literature that needs to be revered to the letter. Patricia Highsmith, who wrote the novel the series is based on, was the queen of psychological thrillers back in the ‘50s, pulpy books that have found themselves easily adapted to the screen. Her vibrant characters and themes of identity and morality have allowed writers and directors to interpret her stories in various ways and to suit different visions. With Ripley, Zaillian and Elswit knew that they could spend more time creating an atmosphere as they did telling the story, because that’s where the story really is.

Ripley is one of the most gorgeous shows you will ever see. There is more said without words in this exquisitely shot black-and-white series than you ever knew possible. Every shot is a composition worthy of a picture book. The languid pace, the limited use of music and the dedication to tension results in a hypnotic and mesmerizing experience for the viewer. When the Emmy Award nominations are announced on July 12, don’t be surprised if you see Ripley dozens of times.

All that being said, if you aren’t a fan of slow, beautiful things, you may find yourself bored with Ripley, as it does take its sweet time, as it is so masterfully deliberate with every beat. There are moments of action in this series, but to call it a thriller would be false. It is much more of a slow burn. Give it time, and it will suck you in.

I was disappointed by the fact that the gay subtext is nearly hidden in this series, even more than it was in a major Hollywood film that came out twenty-five years ago, which feels really weird. Even though it can be applauded for casting a non-binary actor, Eliot Sumner, in the role played by Philip Seymour Hoffman in the film, it still feels like Ripley plays it too safe.

As for performances, it cannot be ignored what Andrew Scott does here. He is in every scene, and he is speaking Italian in most of them. Coming off his most critically acclaimed role to date, last year’s All of Us Strangers, if Ripley doesn’t absolutely cement Scott as one of our best actors, I don’t know what will. Dakota Fanning is great in the Gwyneth Paltrow role from the film, but it was impossible to compare Flynn’s Dickie to Jude Law’s perfection. Flynn is nowhere near as handsome or charming that Dickie needs to be, and this huge casting misstep is the one huge flaw in this series. (Although there is a cat performance for the ages that deserves ALL the awards, how do we make this happen?)

But even a casting mistake can’t take down Ripley, which truly is a cinematic experience in eight parts. If you’re one of the ones who thinks television can’t produce a high-quality work of art the way film can, you haven’t seen Ripley.