“....Special When Lit is reminiscent of that other great documentary Spellbound. Both draw the audience into a world of obsession, impress upon you the level of devotion, and charm you with the people in that world....”

Reviewed By Keith Dudhnath 18/10/09


“Masterfully shot, Sullivan brings out something nostalgic in his documentary, intriguing in some ways, also fascinating in others, it seems at time like an emotional and sensitive area, with pinball’s fans describing of the game like a relationship, their faces lighting up as if they were recounting their first kiss....Special When Lit is an encapsulating and absorbing watch, retracing the passion of pinball followers, but also the sad dissolution of, what could be described as a certain way of living and playing.”

Raindance Festival Director Elliot Grove 20/9/09

Big Sky Festival

With a gripping intro, the film draws you in and keeps your attention with its larger-than-life characters. Names like “The Storm” and “Pingeek” exemplify the way the game has even created alternate personas for some players. The result of a train wreck, mixed with an epic saga and baked in an oven of special effects, is enough to make viewers dropping video game remotes, hankering to get their hands on nostalgic mechanical games.

Montana Kaimin 22/2/10

Big Sky Festival

Anyone familiar with The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters—Seth Gordon’s mesmerizing documentary about “King Kong” fanatics—can appreciate the appeal of a film steeped in obsession and nostalgia. Special When Lit, director Brett Sullivan’s trek through the depths of pinball culture, boasts a similar cast of arcade addicts and pasty dorks set to the most intriguing history lesson this side of the BBC. Sullivan’s characters paint the demise of pinball as an oddly personal dilemma. There’s no place in the console-centric world of the Xbox and PlayStation for the strategic dance and gyration unique to the flipper-button set. "Pinball is slowly dying,” says pinball designer Steve Ritchie. And Sullivan makes you feel it. (AS)


Sydney Morning Herald/West Australian

Special When Lit sometimes treads a fine line. It’s easy to laugh at the characters as oddballs, social misfits and obsessivecompulsives. Yet by embracing their eccentricities and the way they use pinball to construct meaning in their lives, the film never loses sight of their humanity

syndicated from AAP. 4/1/10

Just One More

“....Did I enjoy it? Hell yes, it was great! Everyone was absorbed by this film. It was amazing to see everyone so engaged with it!” 23/12/09

Film Ink

Special When Lit is the definitive story of the rise and fall of pinball as told by the fans, collectors, designers and champion players from across the globe. Shot all over the world, though predominantly in America, by London-based Australian filmmakers Brett O’Sullivan, Clayton Jacobsen and Emily Rickard, and edited in the UK with the final sound mix completed in Australia, the film truly is an international production with worldwide appeal.