Of the few cinematic portrayals of autism I have seen, I have never seen one quite like this one.
He’s an accountant, but he’s also a thief, and a murderer. Specifically, his autism is what contributes to his abilities to avoid capture by the law. It’s very different from the hopeless dependent depictions (Rain Man) or the inspirational redemptive depictions (Temple Grandin), but at the same time, this is a darker side to autism that we might as well consider, as people with autism despised by the law is a definite possibility.
I realize that it is not something we like to think about, but anyone on the autism spectrum who grew up with a traumatic childhood could easily lose insight on what’s right and wrong, using his abnormal abilities for his selfish purposes. If you ask me, this falls completely underneath the responsibility of the parents.
In this movie, the character played by Ben Affleck grew up under a broken household: his father spent more time in the Army than with his family, and had completely irrational ideas to prepare his son for the real world. He taught him that he should stand up to bullies by physical means, and literally torture himself in order to face reality in a “normal” way.