“Quasi” is the story of a man stuck in the conspiratorial games between the King of France and the Pope in the 13th century, and it is a parody through and through. Each of the actors plays a minor and major role, in keeping with the spirit of the joke that the entire movie’s team is in on. We cannot put our finger on what makes the movie as enjoyable as we found it. We have heard the jokes before, and we have also seen similar stories unfold on screen. Yet, we suppose it was the conviction of the actors and a script that keeps the narrative tight by not trying to do too much in the hopes of being something different, when it is clearly not. That is the simple formula that worked its magic, and we are glad for it. This is how the movie unfolds.
The Conflict Between The King And The Pope
It’s a tale littered through history and probably made most famous with the case of King Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn. The church and the crown must defer to each other to rule the country, which means that the church would want the crown to live by certain values that the crown does not care for, either for political or personal reasons. In this scenario, the King craves power, and hence, he marries his English Queen. He married her after having his previous wife executed, as the Pope had told him that he couldn’t divorce her. The Pope is furious at this challenge to his authority, and the King doesn’t care for the restrictions placed on him. He wants the freedom to do what he wants, and the church and its ideals are in the way of that. Therefore, he wants the Pope killed so that he can have free rein. The Pope wants the King killed for similar reasons, and Quasi gets stuck in the middle of them both.
The Hunchback With Bad Luck
Quasi is a hunchbacked, or as the Pope says, orthopedically challenged man, living in 13th-century France, and he calls himself the unluckiest man in the country. Everywhere he goes, people not only mock him but also take great pleasure in throwing things at him. His hut mate, Duchamp, whom everyone mistakes for his best friend, asks him to stand up for himself (metaphorically). According to Duchamp, Quasi has given up on humanity and on love. We are not surprised since we see how horribly he is treated by everyone. But to Quasi’s credit, he is the inventor of a device named “The Rack,” which has become the country’s number one method of torturing its prisoners and criminals. Quasi’s job is that of a torturer, and he keeps trying to improve his methods. One particular day, he catches the Queen’s eye when he leads a bit of a revolt, demanding that Lucien, their supervisor, bring oysters for everyone if he is going to eat them there. The Queen seems to like him, especially since he treats her with respect and acknowledges her suggestions, unlike the King, who always dismisses them.
Later that day, there is a lottery to be drawn, and the winner gets to meet the Pope to confess his sins. Quasi is not a believer in the lottery, but Duchamp is, and he gifts one of his tickets to Quasi. As luck would have it, good or bad, Quasi is the one who wins. Before he can meet the Pope, he is taken to see the King, who gives him the job of killing the Pope while making his confession. Quasi is horrified, and when he tells this to his friends, Duchamp is finally glad instead of jealous for this exchange of fates. However, the next day, when he meets the Pope, he gets another shock before he can kill him. The Pope tells him that if he kills the King, his back will be straightened. Quasi is stuck between a rock and a hard place, and his situation becomes all the more precarious when the King demands to know why he did not kill the Pope when he had the chance. Quasi lies that the knife wasn’t in its assigned place. The King revises the plan and tells Quasi to do the deed in the public square the next day. Quasi doesn’t know that once he kills the Pope, he won’t be rewarded but will be executed instead. However, the Queen overhears the conversation and meets Quasi to devise a plan of their own. She realizes that killing the Pope would make her position far more vulnerable, so she enters into a mutually beneficial plan with Quasi.
The next day, according to the plan, Quasi stages an attack on both the King and the Pope but is fake-killed by Duchamp, who is supposed to be the hero of the situation. The next part of the plan involves Quasi hiding in the caves for a year, with Duchamp bringing him a regular supply of food and water. That night, Duchamp is in for a few disappointments. He finds that he is not quite the hero that he had hoped to be since no one remembers him, and the girls thought that it was good for Quasi to attempt what he did. Additionally, when he goes back to the cave with rations for Quasi, he finds him drawing selfies on the walls with the Queen. An upset Duchamp gets drunk and spills the secret to Lucien, who, anyway, had a grudge against Quasi. He brings the royal guards to the cave, and Quasi is arrested. But the Queen comes to the rescue. She stabs Lucien and frees Quasi, and in the process, she discovers that they are cousins. Quasi was born to Siamese twins, who abandoned him in the river. Queen Catherine’s aunts were Siamese twins who had a “deformed” baby with their brother, whom they abandoned in the river. Catherine finds the mark of the Gastineau on Quasi, the same as on her, establishing that they are indeed cousins. We don’t know how legal or socially acceptable incest was in the 13th century, but Catherine and Quasi take it as a green signal for their romantic relationship.
‘Quasi’ Ending Explained- What Happens To Duchamp, Catherine & Quasi?
Since this is a parody, the Queen and Quasi find time to be together before the latter escapes. The Pope and the King rush to kill Quasi early in the morning, only to find the Queen strapped to the rack, saying that she was lured by the siren song of the “hunchback.” She is freed, but now the Pope and the King send their right-hand men separately to find and kill Quasi. They are both unaware that the other person has ordered Quasi to kill them, and their objective in getting to him first is to protect their own secret.
Quasi manages to find his friends, and Michel has grown incredibly tall due to the experiments on the rack. As for Duchamp, he makes it clear that he despises Quasi because he is unhappy due to the new power imbalance in the relationship. This solidifies that they are not friends anymore. Their hut is attacked, and though Quasi manages to escape, albeit with an arrow in his back, Duchamp is arrested and will be tortured on the day of the coronation of the Queen. When Quasi is in the jungle with Michel, planning his escape, Catherine meets him and gives him some supplies and money to escape. She must continue living with the King till she finds a way for her to outlive her usefulness to him. Once Catherine leaves, Michel tries to convince Quasi to try and rescue Duchamp, but he is not having it.
But after a while, it turns out that he is having it, and he shows up to rescue Duchamp while he is being publicly tortured. What follows is a lot of carefully designed accidental comedy that results in the death of Michel and the reconciliation of the hut mates, who turn into BFFs to honor the wishes of a dying man. But the King and the Pope don’t care for sentimentality, and they order the death of Quasi. However, when the Queen reveals his Gastineau heritage, the blade is halted for a second but the King still wants him dead. That is when Quasi reveals the double conspiracy of the King and the Pope to kill each other. He also gives a rousing speech, asking the public to expect more from their monarchs. The public decides that they want more oysters and starts chanting for them. This is the moment when the Pope and the King stab each other. As they are taking their last breaths, it is revealed that they dated in university but broke up due to a misunderstanding that they had both cheated on the other with some boy. We had suspected their squabbles went beyond simple dislike for each other. There was always an undercurrent of something, and they had better chemistry than Catherine and Quasi. In fact, we would go as far as to say that “Romeo and Juliet” do not hold a candle to these two.
At the end of the movie “Quasi,” our titular character and Duchamp reconcile and claim to be each other’s best friends forever who will travel to Champagne together, and not just because of their promise to Michel. Quasi is crowned King, and he rules France for a long time with Catherine and, in the words of the narrator, “eats a lot of oysters.” In the end credits scene, we see Quasi and Duchamp burying Michel, but they get it wrong because they underestimate how tall he actually is.
We enjoyed the film quite a bit, and as ridiculous as it was, it held itself together in a tight narrative with characters you could actually empathize with, which tends to go haywire in parodies due to their one-dimensional nature. But the film got it just right. Additionally, we would say that Jay Chandrashekhar, who plays King Guy, was perfectly cast, and his performance really shone through and took the movie to a new level. We loved the film and would recommend it for the next time you are looking for something to align with a sweet and silly mood.