“Quasi” is a 2023 comedy film directed by Kevin Heffernan that tells the story of a hunchback who covets love yet finds himself in the midst of a murderous feud between the King of France and the Pope. Read the article to understand how the story flourishes and enjoy the comic moments in it.
Book images of the horrible conditions of 13th-century France are shown, and the narrator promises to tell the real story of Quasimodo, the hunchback. One could have only flourished in these times if he was the King or the Pope. But being trapped in their feud was the last thing one could think of where, unfortunately, Quasimodo landed. Quasimodo (Steve Lemme) is continuously being called by Duchamp (Kevin Heffernan) or they will get late for work. On the way, Quasimodo is being mistreated by all the passersby, and Duchamp tells him not to give up on humanity. Both Duchamp and Quasimodo work in the torture house, and Lucien provides them with their new subject. On the other side of the world, we see the beginning of Pope Week, where Pope Cornelius (Paul Soter) is greeted by the commoners who have brought their offerings. The Pope is informed that his next visit is to France, and the Pope expresses how he hates the French King and their land.
The scene shifts to the French King Guy (Jay Chandrasekhar), who sits with a dull face in his castle watching his jester put on a puppet show. Later, he orders his guard to boil his jester in oil, and at that moment, Henri Francoise (Kevin Heffernan) enters and tells the king they have a busy schedule today. The Queen (Adrianne Palicki) is also introduced, and Henri Francoise mentions the preparation for Pope Week, on which the king vents out his anger for the Pope. The Queen is visiting the torture house and finds out that Quasimodo was rebelling with his fellow mates for having oysters. The Queen lauds Quasimodo’s invention of the rack and talks about some adjustments, and unknowingly, in a funny manner, Quasimodo compliments her about the insights and her rack (breasts). After work hours, we see Quasimodo, Duchamp, and Michel (torture subject) in a pub, where Michel mentions the sexual tension between Quasimodo and The Queen, which Quasimodo and Duchamp laugh away.
In the Papal Lottery, Quasimodo wins the competition with the ticket given to him by Duchamp, where he can see the coronation of the Queen and have a private confession with the Pope. He is carried on the shoulders to the torture house as a hero, where he learns the King wants to meet the winner. Quasimodo is invited to dinner by the King and he eats like a pig and even tries oysters for the first time. The King tells the Queen to leave them and asks Quasimodo “to kill the Pope” hearing which he chokes on his oyster. Funnily enough, using an object, the king hits him on his back and saves him. When Quasimodo says it is impossible for him to do this task, the king and Henri Francoise confirm that they will have Quasimodo and Duchamp executed if he fails. Quasimodo tells Michel and Duchamp about the dinner event in the pub, and Duchamp gets excited. The Pope arrives and meets the King and his new Queen. The Queen learns that both of them were classmates at the university, and Henri Francoise announces that dinner is served. A funny incident leads to a literal fight between King Guy and the Pope, which is later stopped by the guards, and the Pope leaves the dinner hall angrily.
The Pope visits the torture house and whispers to Quasimodo to speed things up, and also tries the rack torture device. Quasimodo is called for confession, and Duchamp reminds him of the killing. When Quasimodo takes the knife out while sitting in his confession chamber, the Pope surprisingly orders him to kill King Guy the next day in the public square. The King and Henri Francoise, peeking from the balcony, find out that the gruesome act has not been committed. Quasimodo tells the King there was no dagger when held hostage, and the King tells him to commit this act the next day in the public square. After Quasimodo is taken away, the King and Henri Francoise laugh and say how they will publicly execute Quasimodo after this, which the Queen secretly hears and also learns about her ill fate. In the pub, Quasimodo tells Michel and Duchamp how the events have unfolded, and they are quite speechless. Quasimodo comes out of the pub, and soon after that, to his surprise, the Queen meets him. The Queen tells him about the King’s plan while Quasimodo tells him about the Pope’s, and both of them decide to conspire. Quasimodo and the Queen come up with a plan, and Quasimodo tells this to Duchamp and Michel, which they both like as it serves them all excellently.
The scene shifts to the public square, where we see the King and the Pope again at their throats with verbal skirmishes. Quasimodo, along with Duchamp, stages an act where Quasimodo is killed by Duchamp, and later it is seen that both of them are in the cave where Quasimodo has to stay in hiding for a year. The Queen visits Quasimodo in the cave, and she tells him that her family will help to get them out of France. Duchamp, while bringing food for Quasimodo, sees the Queen and Quasimodo together in the cave and runs away in distress. Later, in a drunken state, Duchamp tells Lucien that Quasimodo is alive and is in the caves by the lake, and the killing was just an act. Henri Francoise and Lucien arrive with guards in front of the cave and capture him. The King and the Pope later put Quasimodo on the rack and tell him he will be publicly executed the next day. When everyone is asleep, the Queen comes to Quasimodo’s rescue, and they find out they are related as cousins from their birthmark. The King and the Pope go to visit the prisoner again to kill him, but instead, find that the Queen is trapped there on the rack. Both the King and the Pope send their guards to find and kill Quasimodo. Quasimodo learns it was Duchamp who betrayed him while he was drunk and confronts him. The guards arrive and chase Quasimodo, and he even gets injured by a knife in the process. Later, the guards get hold of Duchamp and take him prisoner.
Quasimodo and Michel meet with the Queen in the jungle, where she says she cannot flee with Quasimodo or they will both be killed, and she bids him farewell. While Michel tells Quasimodo they must help Duchamp as he is his best friend. The coronation of the Queen is finally happening, and the special act of entertainment is the torture of Duchamp. When the guards start torturing Duchamp, Quasimodo arrives with Michel to save him, but Michel gets shot by an arrow and dies. The King again orders his guards to behead Quasimodo, and the Queen reveals he is of royal blood. Quasimodo asks the commoners for a better leader, and they start throwing things at the King and the Pope. In the midst of this, the Pope puts a sword inside the King, while the King does the same to the Pope, and both of them die, saying that they loved each other in the university. Quasimodo is announced as the new King, and the country flourishes with happiness and wealth.
“Quasi” is a Monty Python-esque type of film where actors assume different roles to play out funny scenes and take a parodic aim at The Hunchback of Notre Dame with a bit of a changed plotline. Packed with several satirical elements, the film is further elevated on the comedic scale by the addition of both mockery and humorous scenes.